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Al Dukes and Jerry Recco Examine State of Sports Radio

Brandon Contes

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Al Dukes and Jerry Recco from WFAN’s morning show used their Wednesday postgame podcast to analyze the sports radio format and what the audience wants from it. They didn’t have an answer, because there is no verified answer, but Dukes and Recco offered interesting insight.  

The concept of talking sports for a living sounds easy, but being tasked with holding people’s attention in a world that demands fast and immediate content is challenging. Recco and Dukes suggested shorter shows throughout the format, including the 6 – 10am morning show they contribute to daily. It was said tongue-in-cheek, but they posed changing WFAN’s lineup to feature Boomer and Gio from 6 – 9a, Dukes and Recco 9a – noon, Moose and Maggie noon – 3p, followed by Carton and Roberts 3 – 6p.  

They also discussed the balance of straying from sports during a sports radio show. I believe social media and podcasts have given sports radio the ability to be less informative than it once was, opening the door for less sports talk. If a listener wants immediate sports news, they’ll check Twitter. If they want in-depth statistical breakdowns featuring analytics, they’ll likely get it from a niche podcast. 

So where does that leave sports radio? Recco said relatable life-talk always connects with the audience and generates reaction, but noted, “you can’t force it.” 

As much as I’m a die-hard sports fan, I prefer when the truly entertaining hosts keep sports to a macro level, soliciting those unique and relatable discussions about 7-Eleven or finding squirrels in your pool. Sticking to the nuts and bolts of sports might not always be the more entertaining route, but it’s usually the safer route because not every host has the ability to navigate away from it. The deeper a show gets into a sports conversation, the harder it is to branch off into those real-life topics. 

Recco also mentioned he gets tired of resetting the same conversation when he fills in for Boomer or Gio. Covering repetitive topics about DeShaun Watson to the Jets for the tenth consecutive day can get monotonous for the host, and that energy resonates with the audience. If the host is bored talking about a topic, the audience is probably going to be bored listening. 

Listeners generate predisposed expectations of hosts and shows. Last week, Recco harshly told Boomer and Gio, he doesn’t want to hear them talk about the Nets. Recco’s a Nets fan, he enjoys Nets commentary, but he goes elsewhere for it. A listener’s predisposed opinion of Boomer and Gio might be that the hosts’ biases prevent them from having an honest conversation about the Nets.   

That rationale is also true for the balance of sports vs non-sports topics. Listeners expect to laugh when Craig Carton is behind the mic, they trust him to take the show in different directions. But if another host attempts a bit that’s deemed out of character, the audience won’t have enough trust to give it a chance the first time. 

Knowing you can’t please everybody while trying to entertain the majority is a difficult task. Even for longtime industry personnel like Dukes and Recco, there might not be a definitive answer on the best way to construct a sports radio show. But that’s not a bad thing, varying approaches to creating a show encourages diverse content.

Sports Online

Barstool Sports Star Big Cat Launches Coffee Business

Barstool conducted a recent fan survey, and 80% of respondents said they drink coffee on a daily basis. Katz and the folks at Barstool listened, and so Stella Blue was born.

Jordan Bondurant

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A new direct-to-consumer product from the minds at Barstool Sports has hit store shelves – coffee. Stella Blue Coffee is a new brand launched by Pardon My Take co-host and Barstool Sports star Dan “Big Cat” Katz.

The name was inspired by Big Cat’s love of coffee and his love for his recue dog Stella.

Barstool conducted a recent fan survey, and 80% of respondents said they drink coffee on a daily basis. Katz and the folks at Barstool listened, and so Stella Blue was born.

The coffee will feature three different blends. Positive Vibes is the light roast, Big Cat Blend is the medium roast and Electric Avenue Dark Roast. The coffee is available in 12-ounce whole bean bags, 12-ounce ground bags and pods for Keurig lovers.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of the coffee will go to PAWS Chicago, the largest no-kill humane organization in Dan’s hometown.

Stella Blue is the latest Barstool-backed and created DTC product to hit store shelves. The company has a record of previous success launching other products including flavored vodka, beer and hard seltzers.

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Sports Online

Barstool Sports Raising Money In Memory of Murdered Virginia Football Players

Barstool created a design featuring the phrase C’ville Strong above the cross swords used in Virginia’s athletic logo. The design also features the initials and numbers for the three murdered players.

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Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has announced a fundraising campaign for the three Virginia football players murdered earlier this week.

In a tweet, Portnoy said 100% of proceeds from t-shirt sales will go to support the families of Lavel “Tyler” Davis Jr., Devin Chandler, and D’Sean Perry, who were all killed in an on-campus shooting earlier this week.

Two of the three football players killed were Barstool Athletes, a name, image, and likeness program started by the online outlet.

Barstool created a design featuring the phrase C’ville Strong above the cross swords used in Virginia’s athletic logo. The design also features the initials and numbers for the three murdered players.

Merchandise can be purchased here.

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Sports Online

Grant Wahl Details Run-In With Qatari Security At World Cup

“Picture is not allowed, sir,” the guard purportedly told Wahl. When he asked for clarification, the guard told him “Kindly delete it, sir”.

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CBS Sports soccer analyst Grant Wahl has detailed an issue he had with security as the 2022 World Cup prepares to take place in Qatar.

In an article posted on his Substack, Wahl claimed he took a picture of a sign in the media center that said “Now is All”. He shared after he took the photo, a security guard immediately walked over.

“Picture is not allowed, sir,” the guard purportedly told Wahl. When he asked for clarification, the guard told him “Kindly delete it, sir”.

The 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar has been viewed as controversial for a multitude of reasons, mostly centered around the country’s poor record on human rights. Other media members have shared their experiences with Qatari security, as a confrontation with a Danish television crew went viral earlier this week.

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