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97.1 The Fan Sold To Tegna

“Both sports radio stations were previously owned by RadiOhio. The deal is similar to one Tenga made in San Diego last year to acquire KFMB-TV/AM/FM from Midwest Television.”

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Columbus’s dominant sports radio brand is changing hands. Tegna has purchased 97.1 the Fan and 1460 ESPN as part of a $535 million deal to acquire Dispatch Broadcast Group’s Columbus TV stations.

“We have long admired the talented and award-winning teams at WTHR and WBNS’ television and radio stations and are honored that the Wolfe family has entrusted us to build on each station’s commitment to high-quality journalism and serving the greater good in their community,” Tegna President and CEO Dave Lougee said in a press release.

Both sports radio stations were previously owned by RadiOhio. The deal is similar to one Tegna made in San Diego last year to acquire KFMB-TV/AM/FM from Midwest Television.

Tegna has not announced plans for its radio acquisitions. Lougee said that the company’s track record shows that it will invest “in growth and remain true to our track record of acquiring highly attractive assets that create immediate value for shareholders.’

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Eric Chiofalo & Zack Wolchuck Join GBag Nation

“Wolchuck and Chiofalo join the show on a permanent basis beginning on Friday.”

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Jeff Cavanaugh exited 105.3 The Fan in March. It has taken a while, but on Thursday, GBag Nation introduced the men that will take his place on the station’s afternoon show.

Nighttime hosts Eric Chiofalo & Zack Wolchuck are moving from their show The Nosebleed Seats into the afternoon slot. They will join Gavin Dawson, Lucious Alexander, and Bryan Broaddus as the newest members of the GBag Nation cast.

Dawson said that the show heard from a lot of people that wanted a spot on the show. They went through months of auditions and conversations before making their decision.

The Nosebleed Seats united inside the GBag Nation joining the three of us,” Dawson proclaimed. “We are once again five-wide, gentlemen. We couldn’t be more excited to add you. Thanks for coming aboard.”

Wolchuck began his sports radio days as an intern for the show while attending the University of North Texas.

“This is pretty big,” he said. “It really is a dream come true, growing up in the Metroplex to now be in afternoon drive with you here on the best station in the world. This is what it is all about boys.”

Eric Chiofalo joked that his mother sent out a group text to “about 100” family members and friends telling them to listen to the announcement on 105.3 The Fan. As a result, his leg was vibrating like crazy as people text in their congratulations to him.

Wolchuck and Chiofalo join the show on a permanent basis beginning on Friday.

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John Skipper: ‘Charles Barkley Is The Only Broadcaster Fans Tune In To See’

“Dan Patrick asked Skipper if that meant ESPN ever tried to sign Barkley while Skipper was in charge.”

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John Skipper has a very high opinion of Charles Barkley. He joined Dan Patrick on Thursday to talk about Tom Brady’s new deal with FOX. The Meadowlark Media boss made it clear that he thought Barkley was in rarified air amongst his broadcasting colleagues.

“I think there are only three or four people in the history of broadcasting that you can genuinely say people tune in to see them. The late, great John Madden, who just recently passed, was one of those guys. Barkley is the guy right now in all of sports that you can say people will tune in to see him.”

Dan Patrick asked Skipper if that meant ESPN ever tried to sign Barkley while Skipper was in charge.

“There’s almost nobody who’s really, really good that we didn’t try to get,” Skipper said adding that the problem was that ESPN asks its employees to work too much.

He said this same problem came up when he talked to Shaquille O’Neal about coming to Bristol. Skipper pitched Shaq on being the star of ESPN’s NBA coverage instead of “playing second fiddle to Barkley on TNT.”

Skipper says Shaq told him that he had already talked to Charles Barkley, who had said that at TNT there were no rehearsals, no First Take appearances and no SportsCenter hits. The Inside the NBA crew gets to just show up and talk basketball. That was all Shaq was looking for.

John Skipper acknowledged that the workload can be a disadvantage for ESPN in those situations. ESPN has a lot of programming to fill though and the model they use has worked for them. It wasn’t for Shaquillel O’Neal or Charles Barkley, and Skipper says that is okay. TNT created a show that stands out above other studio shows because it plays to its cast’s strengths.

“It’s because they look like they’re having fun,” Skipper said, explaining why Inside the NBA is his favorite sports studio show. “They know what they’re talking about. They’re willing to be provocative, they’re willing to mash it up, and it’s great.”

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FanDuel CMO: ‘We Will Never See All 50 States Legalize Sports Betting’

“I think you’ll see a continued, steady pace for the next few years and then you’ll get close to a critical mass, but my hunch would be no. You won’t get all 50.”

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Every year a group of new states decides to legalize sports betting. FanDuel CMO Mike Raffensperger doesn’t think that means there will be a day when his company can take bets from wherever it wants in the United States.

“I don’t think it will ever get to 50,” he told Pat McAfee on Thursday.

There are still 15 states where betting on sports is illegal. Raffensperger cited Utah as an example, saying that in some places, the opposition to gambling is built into the state constitution. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t expect progress to continue elsewhere.

“I think you’ll see a continued, steady pace for the next few years and then you’ll get close to a critical mass, but my hunch would be no. You won’t get all 50.”

McAfee theorized that the Covid-19 pandemic, while not a good thing, was beneficial in the effort to legalize sports gambling across the country. He asked Raffensperger if it created a culture where more people became used to connecting to the rest of the world on their phones.

Raffensperger answered that it certainly helped. Plus, it was a time when state governments needed to find new sources of income. Sports betting created a whole new tax revenue stream in a time when large sectors of the economy were shut down. That is why he is confident that a good chunk of the 15 holdouts will eventually embrace sports betting.

“This is really common sense legislation,” he said. “Everybody pretty much wants this to happen. It’s taking a black market that is unregulated and unsafe into a safe and regulated environment and it creates new revenue for the state.”

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