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Could ESPN NY Drop Golic & Wingo For Local Show?

“Moving Golic and Wingo off 98.7 and onto their AM signal would keep the network programming in the New York market, while allowing their FM frequency to have a legitimate chance of competing against WFAN.”

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Earlier this week, John Ourand of Sports Business Daily reported ESPN will shut down its Spanish language radio network on September 8.  

Since ESPN Radio in New York flipped to its 98.7 FM frequency in 2012, its original AM signal, 1050 began carrying ESPN Deportes.  With ESPN Deportes closing its doors, The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports 1050 AM will likely be made into an English-speaking sports station.  

1050 could broadcast as a simulcast of 98.7, the same way WFAN airs its programming on both 101.9 FM and 660 AM to cover a much larger area of listeners.  ESPN could also decide to have 1050 carry its national programming, while allowing ESPN NY on 98.7 to offer a full local lineup for the first time.  When WFAN added its 101.9 FM signal, there was the possibility of 660 AM being flipped to network programming, with the newly launched CBS Sports Radio, but management ultimately chose not to make the switch, instead having both frequencies air WFAN’s lineup.  

ESPN, however, has always maintained the importance of offering their national morning show (Golic and Wingo) along with one other network radio program in New York, even though they get crushed by WFAN in the ratings.  Moving Golic and Wingo off 98.7 and onto their AM signal would keep the network programming in the New York market, while allowing their FM frequency to have a legitimate chance of competing against WFAN.  Now that The Michael Kay Show has closed the ratings gap with its radio rival, Mike Francesa, it might be enticing for ESPN to see what a full local lineup could do against WFAN.

When I spoke to ESPN NY’s Rick DiPietro last month, the midday host acknowledged he preferred when the show was on as a lead-in for The Michael Kay Show because of the added comradery.  Currently DiPietro’s show, Humpty, Canty and Rothy are in the 10 – 1 timeslot, sandwiched between the network programming of Golic and Wingo and The Stephen A. Smith Show.  With national shows never doing well in the New York sports radio ratings battle, Humpty, Canty and Rothy have the uphill battle of challenging WFAN as a local island in their lineup.

WFAN has been a revolving door of changes since morning show star Craig Carton was arrested in September 2017.  Two years later, Andrew Marchand notes those changes at WFAN could continue with their 1 – 3pm show Carlin, Maggie and Bart’s contracts up at the end of the year along with Mike Francesa still working without a deal. 

Although Carlin, Maggie and Bart have seen ratings success, paying three hosts for two hours, as the fourth show in their weekday lineup, might not make financial sense.  As WFAN continues to retool and The Michael Kay Show proves ESPN can compete with Francesa, bringing 1050 in as an English-speaking sports station could open the door for ESPN NY to create a full lineup that can compete with their crosstown rival.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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