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Morning Men Head To LA For FALifornia

“Dubbed “FALifornia,” with Russo out, SiriusXM sent Morning Men hosts, Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik to their new Los Angeles studios for the week, where they took over Nick Wright’s usual timeslot.”

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When the namesake of Mad Dog Radio is off-air for a week, you’d expect the SiriusXM channel to wait for his return before trying anything too creative. Instead, Mad Dog Radio, Steve Cohen, Steve Torre and all of the SiriusXM bosses used Christopher Russo’s absence as an opportunity to grow their morning show.

Dubbed “FALifornia,” with Russo out, SiriusXM sent Morning Men hosts, Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik to their new Los Angeles studios for the week, where they took over Nick Wright’s usual timeslot. Wright, meanwhile,  filled in for Russo’s Mad Dog Unleashed.

“I’m a dorky old school radio guy and conceptually what SiriusXM did in saying ‘let’s not look at Dog being out as a disadvantage, but how do way take advantage of it?’ Again it involves us, so maybe I’m a little biased, but I think it’s really smart,” Morning Men co-host Evan Cohen said while speaking to BSM.

They’re a growing brand on the platform, but as a national show airing from 6 – 10am ET, it’s hard to expect a big West Coast following for Evan and Babs when they regularly hit the airwaves at 3am PT. Still, the reaction to Morning Men heading to the West Coast was filled with excitement. 

Further, when Evan and Babs announced they would broadcast Friday in-front of a studio audience, there was a big response from West Coast’s most loyal listeners, dubbed “the FALS,” who wanted to be there, a testament to the job SiriusXM does in promoting the show.

“Our show is on from 3am – 7am Pacific Time and it goes to show that SiriusXM has done such a good job with the app and on-demand product for people to listen to it when it’s not live,” Cohen said when speaking of their West Coast listeners.

To make their trip happen, Evan and Babs also needed a willingness from other hosts on the channel to work around an adjusted schedule. SiriusXM personalities Lisa Ann and Rick Kamla helped out during mornings on Mad Dog Radio. And with Wright taking over Russo’s Mad Dog Unleashed, normally Patrick Meagher moves from his 8 – 11pm show into the 6 – 8pm timeslot, but he had no problem reneging. 

“Patrick is a big fan of ours and we’re a big fan of his,” Cohen said. “We’ve developed a really good friendship with him, and his being egoless in knowing he could move up to a different timeslot for the week, but instead saying ‘those are my friends it’s a big opportunity for them, I’m giving them that slot’ is amazing.”

For Morning Men, the evening timeslot allowed them to connect with West Coast listeners, but they also had to adjust to a condensed show for the week. Half the time with double the guests. 

Taking advantage of being on the West Coast, Evan and Babs welcomed L.A. related guests throughout the week that included SiriusXM mainstays Covino and Rich, ESPN host Jorge Sedano, actors Tom Arnold, Ian Ziering, J.B. Smoove, R&B singer Joe, and entertainment star Joel McHale among others.

“Do we do guests, or do we interact with the audience?” Cohen said they debated regarding their live show last Friday to conclude their FALifornia week. 

A live studio audience is something radio shows don’t get a lot of opportunities to have. Some hosts are better in front of a live audience, they feed off the crowd to create natural entertainment. Mike Babchik happens to be one of those hosts, who’s unfiltered style resonates with a crowd. Evan and Babs chose to let the audience be part of their Friday broadcast, focusing on their FALs, more than guests. 

“It was a calculated smart risk by SiriusXM,” Cohen said of the company’s decision to send them to Los Angeles. “In terms of the creativity in the lineup, the buzz it created, exposing our show to the West Coast, giving other people opportunities in other slots and making something out of nothing in many ways – they deserve a lot of credit.”

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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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