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Olbermann, Bruno & Wilson To Reunite For ESPN Radio Special

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ESPN Radio may be focused on the future, but as the network prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017, it’s first taking a moment to remember and celebrate the past. The network has revealed that it will kick off the new year with a 25th Anniversary Special hosted by Keith Olbermann, and featuring guests Tony Bruno and Chuck Wilson. All three men were part of the very first ESPN Radio broadcast. The special broadcast will air live on Wednesday, January 4th from 7p-9p ET. It will also be rebroadcasted periodically on ESPN Radio throughout 2017.

“ESPN Radio has been around for 25 years serving sports fans on the go wherever and whenever. We have evolved over time, adapting as sports fans have adapted, to new ways of listening while all along maintaining strong relationships with our over 500 affiliates across the country,” said Traug Keller, senior vice president, ESPN Audio. “From compelling talk programming to the strongest package of play-by-play content in the industry, ESPN Radio has consistently been the leader among sports broadcasters. We’re incredibly grateful to all the hard-working individuals who have contributed so much to the network over the years — both behind and in front of the mic. Bringing back Keith, Tony and Chuck was a way for us to tip our hats to the folks who got us started.”

The network has also divulged that it will revisit pivotal moments in sports from the past 25 years. From January 9 through December 11, a special bi-weekly podcast series, 25 Stories in Sports from the Last 25 Years, will be available on the ESPN app and ESPNRadio.com. The series will be hosted by various ESPN Radio voices and focus on a number of the landmark sporting events since 1992.

Also starting in January, ESPN Radio will explore the Top 25 of the last 25 years – Best Coaches, Best Fights, Most Underrated Athletes and more, with one list debuting each month through 2017 on ESPNRadio.com.

The ESPN Radio network was launched on January 1, 1992, and featured 16 hours per week of sports news and information. It’s since grown to deliver over 9,000 hours of talk and event content per year, and is available to 20 million listeners per week on 500 stations nationwide.

Notable Moments in ESPN Radio History:

Date Moment
January 1, 1992 ESPN Radio Network is launched, featuring 16 hours a week of sports news and information.
July 4, 1994 ESPN Radio begins its first weekday “long‑form” programming and its first show with listener calls with The Fabulous Sports Babe, weekdays from 10 a.m. ‑ 2 p.m.
November 14, 1995 ESPN Radio Network acquires national radio broadcast rights to the NBA, the network’s first agreement for an event series.
September 18, 1997 ESPN Radio and Major League Baseball announce a deal for game coverage (beginning in 1998) and a variety of other programming through the 2002 season.
October 12, 1998 ESPN Radio becomes a 24-hour service utilizing ABC Radio’s recently purchased WMVP in Chicago, its flagship station: “ESPN Radio 1000.”
January 3, 2000 Mike & Mike in the Morning makes its debut.
March 7, 2000 ESPN Radio signs its 100th full-time station – WTMT-AM in Louisville, Ky.
September 1, 2001 ESPN Radio 1050 in New York debuts as a 50,000-watt 24-hour ESPN affiliate.
January 1, 2002 ESPN Radio celebrates its 10th anniversary.  In 2002, the network adds stations giving it 700 total – including coverage in the top 50 markets – and 210 fulltime.
January 1, 2003 Los Angeles station 710AM becomes an ESPN Radio affiliate.
April 26, 2004 Mike & Mike makes its TV debut on ESPNEWS.
October 5, 2005 ESPN Deportes Radio launches, the first fulltime national U.S. Spanish-language sports network, with sports talk and events, highlighted by MLB and Mexican soccer.
April 10, 2006 ESPN.com launches PodCenter, a library of digital audio and video content from ESPN’s TV, radio and online outlets to download or play on computer.
September 2009 The ESPN Radio app debuts, and was listed among the “Top 25 Apps for 2009” on iTunes.
April 30, 2012 ESPN Radio in New York moves from 1050 AM to 98.7 FM.  In September, the 1050 signal becomes a 24/7 ESPN Deportes Radio affiliate.
September 30, 2013 The Dan Le Batard Show, hosted by longtime Miami journalist Dan Le Batard and Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, makes its national debut, airing weekdays, 4 – 7 p.m. and later moves to its current 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. timeslot.
January 23, 2014 On February 3, the YES Network begins its live simulcast of ESPN New York 98.7FM’s The Michael Kay Show.
June 10, 2014 ESPN Radio becomes the first sports content available on iTunes Radio.
January 24, 2015 ESPN Radio debuts Spain & Prim, its first all-female hosted and produced sports talk show, presented by espnW and hosted by Sarah Spain and Prim Siripipat. It was the precursor to the current The Trifecta with Spain, Jane and Kate, hosted by Spain, Jane McManus and Kate Fagan.
March 6, 2015 ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike celebrates its 15th anniversary with a live show from Walt Disney World in Orlando.
April 5, 2016 Dunkumentaries, ESPN Audio’s first long-form podcast, debuts as a five episode series.
June 20, 2016 ESPNLA 710AM becomes the flagship station for the Los Angeles Rams

Sports Radio News

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.”

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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.”

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Sports Radio News

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?”

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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.

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Sports Radio News

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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