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Learfield & DGital Media To Deliver College Sports Podcasts

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College sports podcasts are about to increase in volume, courtesy of a new partnership between collegiate sports rights holder Learfield, and audio-on-demand provider DGital Media. The two companies will team up to highlight many of the nation’s most recognizable collegiate athletic programs. Among the programs included are the Alabama Crimson Tide, North Carolina Tar Heels, Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys. Others are also expected to join the lineup.

The podcasts will focus on behind-the-scenes insight, guest interviews and conversations from local radio sportscasters associated with the teams. They will not involve play by play. New episodes will be released each Tuesday and Friday on Apple iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play.

This is the first entry into the podcasting space for Learfield, which owns play-by-play rights for 120 college and university sports programs and arenas, including the Big Ten and other college athletic conferences.

“The major college sports marketplace in the United States is insatiable when it comes to consuming content, and this partnership is a great example of where we can help many colleges go by creating a compelling and engaging on-demand audio platform for their millions of fans,” Chris Corcoran, chief content officer, DGital Media, said in a news release. “All the platforms we engage on are the exact ways in which college fans, especially younger, engaged millennials, are consuming media, so we know this has huge potential.”

With 72% of millennials listening monthly to digital audio and 46 million overall podcast users in the past 30 days, the podcast space continues to grow and Learfield says this was an obvious next step for its company and partners. “Not only can they (podcasts) extend their reach with fans week to week with added value for that overall experience, but it’s content they won’t get anywhere else,” said Tom Boman, Learfield’s VP of broadcast operations.

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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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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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Papa & Lund Make Andy Masur Defend BSM Column

“Masur wrote that Barkley’s personality, and his fit on the Inside the NBA set alongside Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith, makes him such a magnet for attention and the most valuable broadcaster in sports.”

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BSM columnist Andy Masur turned some heads with his recent piece on Charles Barkley.

Masur wrote that Barkley’s personality, and his fit on the Inside the NBA set alongside Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith, makes him such a magnet for attention and the most valuable broadcaster in sports.

Masur appeared on Papa & Lund on KNBR in San Francisco on Thursday and defended that stance about Barkley.

“He dishes it out and he can take it too, which is a quality that a lot of people don’t possess these days unfortunately in our business and out of our business,” Masur said. “I just think that if he says something completely outlandish and it doesn’t completely come through, he expects that he’s gonna get grief for it the next time they’re on the set together. And they usually deliver to give it to him.”

Hosts Greg Papa and John Lund both said you can’t deny Barkley’s personality is part of what makes him as popular as he is. Their issue lies in the fact that Barkley can be quick to say things that aren’t true.

Masur said it’s on Barkley’s TNT colleagues to correct him, which a lot of times they do.

“It’s a double-edged sword too because I think like you said, what we do as far as play-by-play and what Ernie has to do as a show guy, I don’t think that Ernie is in the same boat as we would be if our color commentator made a mistake,” he said. “But I think that Ernie has the ability to step in there, or Shaq, or even Kenny has the ability to step in there and say, ‘No man you’re wrong and here, look at the facts.’ I think that even is more entertaining sometimes too than just the fact that he’s throwing out things and trying to throw them against the wall and see what sticks.”

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