The sports media world never stops making news and we’re here to make it easier for you to consume all of it. A quick reminder, if you have a story, promotion, personnel move or valuable piece of information to share, you can pass it along via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news we go.
Stephen A. Smith has changed agents, dropping Headline Media in New York City for CAA in Los Angeles. Smith re-signed with ESPN last year for a little more than 3 million dollars per year. CAA, which represents Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd, and helped both men land deals with FS1 for more than 5-6 million annually, are being tasked with helping SAS earn a bigger payday.
The sports radio scene in Nashville continues to be dominated by 104.5 The Zone. In the September book, The Zone delivered a 13.3 in mornings, 14.3 in middays, and 12.2 in afternoons. All three of their shows, the Wake-Up Zone, Midday 180 and 3HL finished #1. Local competitor 102.5 The Game was far behind in the ratings but the station recently underwent lineup changes which they hope will make a bigger difference in the future.
In Boston, the battle between 98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI remains a tight one. The Hub won the summer book (July-Sept.) with Men 25-54. All of their weekday shows finished 1st overall and popped double digit ratings. They sit comfortably ahead by 2-3 ratings points in each weekday slot. WEEI was 2nd in morning and afternoon and 4th in middays. However, WEEI finished ahead of The Hub with Men 18+, Men 25-64, Men 35-54 and gained 26% with Men 25-54 year to year. The Hub lost 12% with Men 25-54 during the past 12 months. The Hub though was 1st overall with Men 18-44 and Men 25-44. The two stations continue to thrive and make Boston the top rated sports market in America.
101 ESPN continues to go through the audition process searching for a third host for their afternoon show “The Fast Lane“. So far a number of talented individuals have received a look. Former football players Isaac Byrd, Cam Davis, TJ Moe and Michael Young, former hockey player Cam Janssen and broadcasters Katie Felts and Jonathan Platek have all been in. Chris Rongey is in this week for a couple of days and a few others will appear in upcoming weeks before the station makes a final decision. “The Fast Lane” is consistently one of the top rated spoken word programs in the St. Louis market.
Kent Sterling has been elevated to Program Director of CBS Sports 1430 in Indianapolis. Sterling, currently hosts afternoons on the radio station. He’s previously programmed 101 ESPN in St. Louis and 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis.
It’s the end of an era in Atlanta. Entercom has sold radio station AM 790 (WQXI) to Atlanta Radio Korea for $850,000. Over the past two decades, 790 The Zone broadcast sports talk on that signal and became a very successful brand. Led by Steak Shapiro and Andrew Saltzman, the radio station produced big revenues and launched successful talents including Shapiro, Chris Dimino, Nick Cellini, Mike Bell, Matt Chernoff, Chuck Oliver, David Pollack and the 2 Live Stews. The station was eventually sold to Lincoln Financial who then sold it to Entercom. The station most recently simulcasted programming from Star 94.
Sports Radio 94WIP has added a new producer. Ben Livingston has been added following a successful run producing 93.7 The Fan’s morning show in Pittsburgh which features Colin Dunlap, Jim Colony and Josh Miller. Livingston is originally from Philadelphia.
97.1 The Fan in Columbus has a new Web/On-Air Producer. Brandon Beam has been tasked with producing “Tim and Beanie” and overseeing the management of The Fan’s web and mobile sites. He’ll work with the staff on creating fresh stories, video, and podcasts, along with providing analytics.
Hockey season is just around the corner and TSN 1050 in Toronto is strengthening their coverage with the addition of Patrick O’Sullivan as a Maple Leafs analyst.
Derek Fogel has left 103.5 ESPN in Southern Illinois to join Sports Radio 610 KILT in Houston as a sports anchor and weekend/fill-in host. Fogel will also write for CBSHouston.com.
College Basketball Insider Jon Rothstein is following in the footsteps of Jon Heyman and joining the FanRag Sports Network. Rothstein will write and report for the website. Although he will no longer write for CBS Sports, he will continue to appear on the CBS Sports Network’s studio shows and serve as a sideline reporter on game broadcasts.
Evan Daniels has signed on with FOX Sports and FOX Sports 1 as the network’s new College Basketball Insider. Daniels began his new role on October 1st.
The folks at 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis have added a new podcast. Phil Mackey confirms he’ll be hosting “Hardball Society“, a baseball themed podcast focusing on stories and opinions from baseball insiders. The first two episodes feature Aaron Boone and Jim Brower as guests.
Jake Brown has launched a new podcast on CBS Radio’s Play.It network. “The Jake Brown Show” will feature a mixture of sports and entertainment.
Pat McAfee Defends His Intellectual Property on Show
A YouTube user had been using videos from McAfee’s show on his own channel and monetizing them.
Intellectual property is the most important asset a content creator has in the digital space. That’s why it should not come as a surprise when Pat McAfee took to his show today to defend his.
A YouTube user named AntSlant had been acquiring video from Pat McAfee’s daily show for a while and putting it on his YouTube channel as his own content for months. McAfee has been a hot commodity and it seems that the personality may have been alerted to this activity thru potential future partners and their social searches. McAfee apparently reached out and sent a warning and today he addressed the account in what he called a little “house cleaning.”
“I have funded everything that you see (referencing his studio),” McAfee began. “Whenever you talk about stealing people’s footage, stealing people’s content and putting it up on the internet – so you can benefit from it – I don’t know how you think that the person that created, funded and paid for the content, worked their dick off, and their ass off amongst their peers and did everything – how they are the scam artists in this entire thing and not the account.”
Pat McAfee started referencing the offending account’s ability to monetize the videos. “We looked it up because we have this ability, [they] probably made $150,000 off of our content – not remixing the content, not getting in there and speaking and being a content creator – ripping content from us. Putting it together putting it up as their own videos and marketing it as if they work for us. And never reaching out to us one time. Not one time.”
The value of this content is immeasurable especially considering the account using McAfee’s IP is on the same platform (YouTube) as he is. McAfee add, “no network would just let you take their shit and profit off it. Nobody on Earth would let you do that.”
McAfee then revealed that he would partner with another YouTube account Toxic Table Edits. That account, which was doing the same thing as AntSlant, created a community around the Pat McAfee Show image. Things went differently for Toxic because when contacted by McAfee, the owner of that account responded “like a human”. Now the two will partner on future projects.
A Twitter account with the name @AntSlant did tweet shortly thereafter saying that the videos McAfee discussed had been deleted from his YouTube channel.
Upon an inspection of a YouTube account named AntSlant, the videos are no longer.
Parker Hillis Named Brand Manager of Sports Radio 610
Goodbye snow and hello heat! Parker Hillis is headed to Houston. Audacy has announced that he will be the new brand manager for Sports Radio 610.
“Parker is a rising star,” Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy in Houston, said in a press release. “He has impressed us since day one with his innovative ideas, focus on talent coaching and work ethic. We’re thrilled to have him join our Audacy team.”
Hillis comes to the market from Denver. He has spent the last three years with Bonneville’s 104.3 The Fan. He started as the station’s executive producer before rising to APD earlier this year.
In announcing his exit from The Fan on his Facebook page, Hillis thanked Fan PD Raj Sharan for preparing him for this opportunity.
“His leadership and guidance set the stage for me to continue to grow and develop in this industry, one that I absolutely love,” Hillis wrote. “This is a special place, one that I am honored to have been a part of and so sad to leave.”
Sports Radio 610 began the process to find a new brand manager in February when Armen Williams announced he was leaving the role. Williams also came to Houston from Denver. He started his own business outside the radio industry.
“I’m excited to join the Sports Radio 610 team in Houston,” said Hillis. “The opportunity to direct and grow an already incredible Audacy brand is truly an honor.”
Schopp & Bulldog: NFL Has To Figure Out Pro Bowl Alternative That Draws Same Audience
“The game just could not be less interesting.”
After years of criticism and declining television ratings, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly stated this week that the Pro Bowl, as it is currently contested, is no longer a viable option for the league and that there would be discussions at the league meetings to find another way to showcase the league’s best players.
Yesterday afternoon, Schopp and Bulldog on WGR in Buffalo discussed the growing possibility of the game being discontinued, and how the NFL could improve on the ratings it generates with new programming.
“The same number of people [who] watched some recent… game 7 between Milwaukee and Boston… had the same audience as the Pro Bowl had last year,” said co-host Chris “The Bulldog” Parker. “….Enough people watch it to make it worth their while; it’s good business. They’ll put something in that place even though the game is a joke.”
One of the potential outcomes of abolishing the Pro Bowl would be replacing it with a skills showdown akin to what the league held last year prior to the game in Las Vegas. Some of the competitions held within this event centered around pass precision, highlight catches and a non-traditional football competition: Dodgeball. Alternatively, the league could revisit the events it held in 2021 due to the cancellation of the Pro Bowl because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included a virtual Madden showdown and highlight battle, appealing to football fans in the digital age.
Stefon Diggs and Dion Dawkins of the Buffalo Bills were selected to the AFC Pro Bowl roster this past season, and while it is a distinct honor, some fans would rather see the game transformed or ceased entirely – largely because of the risks associated with exhibition games.
In 1999, the NFL held a rookie flag football game on a beach in Waikiki, Hawaii before the Pro Bowl in which New England Patriots running back Robert Edwards severely dislocated his knee while trying to catch a pass. He nearly had to have his leg amputated in the hospital, being told that there was a possibility he may never walk again. Upon returning to the league four seasons later with the Miami Dolphins, Edwards was able to play in 12 games, but then lost his roster spot at the end of the season, marking the end of his NFL career.
“You might not want to get too crazy with this stuff, but there’d have to be some actual contests to have it be worth doing at all,” expressed show co-host Mike Schopp. “Do you not have a game? I don’t know.”
The future of the Sunday before the Super Bowl is very much in the air, yet Goodell has hardly been reticent in expressing that there needs to be a change made in the league to better feature and promote the game’s top players. In fact, he’s been saying it since his first days as league commissioner in 2006, evincing a type of sympathy for the players participating in the contest, despite it generating reasonable television ratings and advertising revenue.
“Maybe the time has come for them to really figure out a better idea, and maybe that’s what’s notable [about] Goodell restating that he’s got a problem with it,” said Parker. “If there’s some sort of momentum about a conversation [on] creating a very different event that could still draw your 6.7 million eyeballs, maybe they’ll figure out a way to do something other than the game, because the game just could not be less interesting.”