When Dan Le Batard, Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, and the Shipping Container wrapped up their final show at ESPN, their playing of George Michael’s “Freedom” was about as subtle as a squirrel tail in an apple pie. Months later, it was a variation of that carefully-selected word that led the official kickoff of Meadowlark Media’s partnership with DraftKings.
Their 24-hour content extravaganza from Friday to Saturday entitled “Freedumb” “drumbed” up close to three million viewers across social media and YouTube Live, according to The Big Lead. The average YouTube Live viewers watched the show for an average of 45 minutes, as well. Appearances included Bob Costas, Pat Riley, Charles Barkley, Jim Rome, Michelle Beadle, and and John Skipper among others. It also served as a launching pad for the flurry of acquired former-ESPN talent to delve into the new venture.
Le Batard long said he wanted to do his show for Miami and in Miami, and after taking the previously-local show national to ESPN, continued the program’s unorthodox approach to sports radio. While for years, sports radio has consisted of Mount Rushmores and pontifications about athlete legacies, Le Batard and his cast of idiosyncratic characters, discussed their favorite colors, how long is “too long” not to change underwear in South Florida, and the origins of popular cliches. This type of “anti-sports-radio sports radio” has led to an army of dedicated fans consistently bringing the show to most-downloaded podcasts lists.
ESPN’s stern directives about what content it would like on its airwaves caused much consternation for the show. Now working with former ESPN-executive John Skipper, the reigns are off as the crew is now able to talk politics, race, sandwiches, or finally get to the conversation about Carter Verhaeghe. Rarely one to take itself seriously, it appears as though Le Batard, Stugotz, and the Shipping Container are enjoying their newfound “Freedumb.”
Mark Rosen Returns To KFAN For 1st Time Since Wife’s Death
“Listeners and friends of the show reached out to the Rosen family after Denise’s death was announced on social media.”
Mark Rosen was on KFAN for the first time since the end of last month today. He lost his wife Denise after a nearly three year battle with cancer.
He joined “Common Man” Dan Cole on KFAN’s mid day show. There was not much build up to the moment. Cole welcomed Rosen back and Rosen immediately began talking about the last few weeks and the end of his wife’s life.
“Wow, it’s good to be back. It really is,” Mark Rosen said. “It was really important for me to get back to you guys, my brothers here at the station.”
Denise Rosen was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma brain tumor in 2018. Mark Rosen said that although he knew when his wife received the diagnoses that there was no cure, she had two good years before struggling the last six months. Denise passed away on August 30th. Mark described her passing as “peaceful” and “surrounded by love”.
“A lot of tears and some laughs. It was the way you want it. The way you want it to be.”
Listeners and friends of the show reached out to the Rosen family after Denise’s death was announced on social media. It was touching to Mark Rosen and his family.
“It meant so much to me and my kids, in particular, that people, who I’ve never met and maybe will never meet, reached out and sincerely offered their condolences and their good feelings.”
Mark Rosen was particularly blown away by Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan. Morgan lost his father to brain cancer. Rosen said that Morgan left him a detailed message that included the college student’s phone number in the event Rosen needed to talk.
101.3 The Game Eliminates Local Afternoon Show
“Now, 101.3 The Game’s programming is completely syndicated.”
The residents of Burlington, Vermont are left without any local sports talk options. Station owner Vox AM/FM decided to cancel the station’s afternoon show, The Huddle, featuring Rich Haskell and FOX Sports Radio’s Arnie Spanier.
“The afternoon show has continued to under perform what is needed to maintain the programming,” a message from the station’s text line read. “The good news is we are committed to an all sports radio station and the game (sic) will continue to exist.”
While The Huddle is cancelled, the message did mention that Haskell remains with The Game and its sister stations. Listeners will still hear him giving sports updates in the mornings.
The dismantling of The Huddle and 101.3 the Game began last year. During the height of the pandemic, Vox AM/FM let Brady Farkas go. He served as the third mic on the show and PD of the station. He has since landed at WDEV in Montpellier.
Now, 101.3 The Game’s programming is completely syndicated. With The Doug Gottlieb Show replacing The Huddle in afternoons, listeners in Burlington can now hear the entire FOX Sports Radio lineup on the station.
Chicago Sports Radio Pioneer Jerry Kuc Dies
“Kuc’s sports radio career began in 1983 when WMAQ hired him as a morning sports anchor. By the next year, he had his own show on the station, talking sports on Sunday nights.”
Jerry Kuc was hosting sports talk radio in Chicago long before names like Score or ESPN 1000 were in the game. He was recognized as a mentor by Dan McNeil. The city’s sports media scene would not have been the same without him.
His son Chris told The Chicago Tribune that Jerry Kuc died yesterday at the age of 82.
In addition to life on the radio, Kuc also made his mark in newspapers and on television. He began working for the Associated Press in the mid-1960s. His first TV job was with WBBM. He would go on to work for 3 other stations in the market.
Kuc’s sports radio career began in 1983 when WMAQ hired him as a morning sports anchor. By the next year, he had his own show on the station, talking sports on Sunday nights. He also anchored NBC Radio’s national sports reports.
The next stop for Jerry Kuc was WSEX. The music station carried his show The Sports Digest beginning in 1988 and kept it even as the station changed formats in 1989. He would go on to host part time and serve as a reporter for the station that eventually became ESPN 1000.
“I was 26 and had no game as a host, and I was getting air time Jerry rightfully thought should have been his. And in this business steeped in ego and petty jealousies, all he did was encourage me and mentor me,” Dan McNeil said of Jerry Kuc. “He assisted in my development booking guests and he introduced me to everybody.”
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