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Dan Le Batard Calls Andrew Marchand Story ‘Ridiculous’

“Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick The Coverage posted the segment of Le Batard discussing the “false” story to YouTube.”

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Dan Le Batard

On Monday, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported significant changes could be on the horizon for ESPN Radio. While personalities such as Will Cain and Trey Wingo have previously been mentioned as candidates to leave ESPN Radio, Marchand added Dan Le Batard’s name to that list.

“There is a feeling among many that his program does not mesh with the tastes of Norby Williamson, who is ESPN’s executive vice president and the point person on ESPN Radio’s programming,” Marchand wrote in the story. “Le Batard does more of a variety show rather than strictly sports.”

Naturally, Le Batard’s tendency to stray from sports, combined with the fact that there are no sports right now, led the ESPN Radio host to address Marchand’s report, calling the story “weird” and “false.” Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick The Coverage posted the segment of Le Batard discussing the “false” story to YouTube.

“Anybody who’s followed us at ESPN knows that I negotiate freedom, not money. I negotiate the ability, as a child of exile, to talk about the things I want to talk about. And so, the idea that there would be a newspaper story, and that any executive would have any issue, would have a problem with me commenting on a newspaper story about us, when I’m in the radio content business, I’m not really going to ignore that one,” Le Batard said.

“When the story is not flattering to us, when ESPN’s fired an employee (Adnan Virk) for talking to the media about stuff, and then you get a weird story in the New York Post during a pandemic talking about whether we’re going to be here any more when we’ve got two-and-a-half years of an expensive contract that makes it kind of ridiculous, the whole story. To not talk about it, it is one of the objections I’ve always had. ESPN doesn’t like to cover itself the way it covers others, but hell if you’re going to do that to me.

“I’m a journalist, they wrote a story about us. I called some people, they said it’s not true, they said it’s false, it’s a false story.”

Le Batard did note his past disagreements with ESPN. “We’ve always fought with parts of the regime at ESPN,” he said of the idea that he should “stick to sports,” rather than have serious discussions about things such as journalism and race. 

As the bearer of a prominent media platform, there have been numerous times Le Batard veered from sports to discuss a topic he feels should be addressed. Last summer, he famously called the behavior of a crowd at a rally for President Trump “un-American.” In the same rant, he called out his own network’s past reaction to its talent talking about political stories saying ESPN hasn’t “had the stomach for that fight” and described ESPN’s policy for discussing politics as requiring “some sort of weak cowardly sports angle that we can run it through.” 

Le Batard avoided suspension for the incident. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro even expressed his support for the outspoken host after multiple meetings. According to an article by Ben Strauss of The Washington Post, Le Batard said that he would “check with the higher-ups” before addressing such stories in the future.

Le Batard signed a four-year deal with ESPN during the summer of 2018, making it unlikely that he would be nearing a departure from the network, but Marchand didn’t report a full parting of the ways for Le Batard and ESPN. The New York Post report acknowledged Le Batard’s contract status when stating he could leave radio.

There’s a difference between leaving ESPN Radio and leaving ESPN. If ESPN Radio does indeed undergo an overhaul in the coming months, Le Batard could be impacted by those changes and still continue to be an important contributor to The Worldwide Leader. 

Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte

“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”

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Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.

Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin. 

“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”

Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.

“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”

Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.

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Sports Radio News

Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football

“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”

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The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. 

With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.

“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit. 

Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about: 

As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.

“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”

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Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan

“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”

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John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.

Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.

“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”

Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.

The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.

“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”

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