Jon Weiner, better known to sports radio listeners as “Stugotz” was a guest on this week’s SI Media Podcast. Host Jimmy Traina asked Dan Le Batard’s co-host when he knew Dan was leaving ESPN. Stugotz answered that it was the moment Chris Cote’s name showed up amongst those laid off by the company at the end of last year.
“I knew the second they got rid of Chris, what that was going to set off inside of Dan,” Stugotz answered. “And I had a feeling that our time there was going to be short-lived.”
Initially, Le Batard re-hired Cote as his personal employee. Le Batard agreed to pay Cote’s salary personally if it would keep him on the show. Whether that was an attempt to try and make things work at ESPN or if it was a way to keep Cote from finding a new job until Le Batard could orchestrate the entire show’s exit was not addressed.
What is interesting is that Stugotz says there was no discussion. Leaving ESPN was not a decision he and Le Batard made together. Stugotz says he never asked Dan Le Batard how he wanted to respond to the situation and he didn’t know for sure that the show wouldn’t stay at ESPN. He just knows Le Batard well enough to know how hurt he was going to be.
“People on our own staff had trouble understanding how I didn’t know about it, but I know Dan,” he said. “I know how loyal he is and I knew that was going to set him off in a way that wasn’t going to be positive. And it did.”
The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz aired on ESPN Radio for the final time on January 4. Since then, Le Batard and former ESPN boss John Skipper have launched Meadowlark Media with the former ESPN Radio show as the centerpiece and DraftKings making a $50 million investment.
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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