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Ben & Woods Pay Tribute To Norm Macdonald

“He could sit up there in front of an audience [when] no one was laughing, and he loved every second of it,” said Ben Higgins.

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Instead of talking about the San Diego Padres’ recent slide from the National League Wild Card race, Ben & Woods on 97.3 The Fan in San Diego took time on Wednesday morning to honor the legacy of Norm Macdonald. The 61-year-old comedian and former anchor of Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live lost his battle with cancer Tuesday, one that he very much kept concealed from public view.

“He could sit up there in front of an audience [when] no one was laughing, and he loved every second of it,” said Ben Higgins, co-host of Ben & Woods. “We were just commenting on how it’s so rare where, even the three of us, can agree on someone.”

Macdonald was fired from Saturday Night Live in 1998 after he refused to stop mentioning the court case wherein former NFL player and color commentator O.J. Simpson was arraigned and found not guilty for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. The San Diego sports radio morning show played several clips of Macdonald discussing Simpson on Weekend Update, which had both hosts and producer Paul Reindl laughing.

“The L.A. district attorney’s office has given Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden… over 10,000 dollars for ‘lengthy hard-time duty’ in the O.J. Simpson case,” said Macdonald in the clip from Saturday Night Live. “A spokesman for the D.A. said the prosecutor’s bonuses would have been higher, except for the fact that they let a killer go free.”

The other host of the show, Steven Woods, admired the audacity Macdonald possessed in discussing controversial topics such as the highly-publicized court case.

“Honestly, he didn’t care. If he lost a gig, he’d get another gig,” said Woods. “If I said something offensive and lost this job, it would kill me. He was like, ‘I know what I have. I know who I am. I know my humor plays.’ He gave the Saturday Night Live job away for the sake of his comedy.”

Additionally, Woods reminisced on some of the guest appearances of Macdonald on The Howard Stern Show, extolling his innate ability to comedically discuss uncomfortable topics across the world of sports, news and entertainment.

“His appearances on Stern were through the roof. I’ve always loved that uncomfortable humor. I couldn’t take a sleeve of note cards out and read deliberately bad jokes.”

In a tweet, Conan O’Brien, the former host of Conan on TBS, conveyed the impact Macdonald had on the worlds of both comedy and mediated communications.

“I am absolutely devastated about Norm Macdonald,” said O’Brien, who hosted over 1,500 episodes of his late night talk show. “Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered and he was so relentlessly and uncompromisingly funny. I will never laugh that hard again. I’m so sad for all of us today.”

Macdonald’s ingenuity in setting up and delivering the punchline of jokes that would get the viewer or listener laughing was something Woods called unique. In reference to a particularly memorable joke told by Macdonald, Woods discussed how guests are managed when appearing on radio or television. In his discussion, he expressed how it is often emphasized to callers and on-air hosts alike to get to their point as quickly as possible to keep the show moving. For Macdonald though, that punchline often took quite a bit of time to get to, something Woods said was always worth the wait.

“We do radio. We have a clock. We’ve got a little room to stretch, [but] TV shows have a much tighter clock,” explained Woods. “But even when Ben, me, Paul or a caller calls in and tells a story, you see me going ‘Let’s go. Let’s go. We’ve got to wrap it up. Let’s get to the meat.’ [Macdonald] goes on with [a] story for five minutes and the punch-line is so corny and dad-jokey, I had tears rolling down my face. The build-up for the payoff is the joke.”

The discussion concluded with both Higgins and Woods offering their final thoughts on the loss of Macdonald, who transformed his industry through his style of dry humor both on television as an update anchor on Saturday Night Live, and as a stand-up comedian.

“He didn’t want people to think differently of him or show pity towards him,” said Woods. “I think his longtime publicist and friend who was with him when he passed away said, ‘He just wanted to be Norm. He didn’t want people to be like, ‘Oh that’s Norm. He’s so funny and he’s dying, fighting this battle with cancer.’’ He was that committed to getting through it and not wanting anybody’s attention or adulation for anything other than his comedy. I think he legitimately didn’t want to make people sad, ever.”

“What’s really sad is that he could have had another 30 years being funny, deep into his later years,” expressed Higgins. “What a comedy legend that left us way too early yesterday.”

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Craig Carton Making Responsible Gambling Content For FanDuel

“He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.”

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FanDuel announced yesterday that it has hired its first ever “responsible gaming ambassador”. WFAN’s Craig Carton has agreed to take on the role. He has been open about his gambling addiction and advocated for those that believe they have a problem to seek help on air since returning to New York radio last year.

The content he creates for FanDuel will have a very specific focus. A press release says Carton will promote messages of “advocacy, prevention awareness and content development focused on the importance of wagering within limits”.

Craig Carton was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a ponzi scheme to defraud investors of money they were told was being invested in tickets for resale. In reality, Carton was using the money to repay some of his gambling debts.

“My story and personal history with gambling has been well documented,” said Carton. “More than ever, I want to use my experience and platform to shine a meaningful spotlight on the issue of problem gambling. It was important to me that I find a real partnership with a company that shared my passion for this issue. It became clear FanDuel shared the same goals and was comfortable working transparently with me for the sole purpose of protecting people.”

FanDuel is planning to utilize Carton in a number of ways. He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.

He will also create audio and video for FanDuel’s Play Safe Campaign. FanDuel will help Carton’s WFAN program “Hello, My Name is Craig” find a bigger audience. The show airs on weekends and features Carton discussing his addiction and offering advice to others seeking help.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Craig to place even more emphasis on responsible gaming behaviors,” said Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Everyone at FanDuel understands the importance of protecting our customers who are also our family, friends, neighbors and community members. Craig’s powerful personal story will help fuel our mission of making sure no bet placed results in hurting a loved one.”

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Marc Malusis: Stephen A Smith Spouting ‘Complete & Utter BS’

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

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WFAN’s Marc Malusis wants Stephen A. Smith to acknowledge that he either has inside information regarding the Nets or that he completely made up a trade rumor on First Take earlier this week. Smith said on First Take that the Brooklyn Nets would trade Kyrie Irving to Philadelphia if it meant they got Ben Simmons back in return, but the idea has been nixed by Kevin Durant.

Stephen A. Smith accused some in the media of lying about his report. He tried to claim that he what said on First Take was that the Irving for Simmons deal is a trade the Nets could do. That was enough to sett Malusis off.

“This is just complete and utter BS,” he shouted. “I mean, get the boots on!”

Marc Malusis claims that the idea of an Irving for Simmons trade isn’t totally absurd. Having James Harden on the roster would allow Brooklyn to bring in someone that does everything well but shoot. Still, he says Smith framed his stance as something he knows happened and Malusis is adamant it didn’t.

He was even more upset that Smith would say people in the New York media “lied” about what Smith had said. Marc Malusis pointed out that when you are the local media, you have to dive into a rumor like that. It doesn’t just get to be something that was said on ESPN.

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

It sounds like Malusis’s greatest objection is to Smith’s indignation at the idea that someone took his trade rumor seriously.

“Don’t all the sudden start waking back and saying ‘everyone’s spewing lies about what I had to say yesterday’ because you know what? We had to weed through the BS of what you said yesterday.”

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104.5 ESPN’s Matt Moscona Sets Up $100K Donation to Local High School

”It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

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Guaranty Media and 104.5 ESPN in Baton Rouge recently invited a local Athletic Director from South Lafourche High School Brian Callais to come and promote an upcoming fundraising event host by Central High School on After Further Review with Matt Moscona.

During the phone interview, Callais informed listeners of the impact that Ida had on their school, including major damages to the high school that there are no funds to repair. Additionally, the school’s sports teams will be forced to travel for every game this season as their facilities are not fit to host other schools.

Little did Callais know, Matt Moscona had invited the founder of a Baton-Rouge-based cryptocurrency business called Game Coin to join him in the 104.5 ESPN studio to surprise Callias with a donation of $100,000 dollars to the school.

“This will go a long way,” said Callais after learning of Game Coin’s donation to his program. “Our [senior] student-athletes have not had a normal high school year since their freshman year…Their sophomore year, they were hit with the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to a regular senior year for them. It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

Gamecoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that is not totally for profit, as 4% of their 10% transaction fee goes to charitable donations to help youth sports groups.

“Growing up, I didn’t have everything that I thought I should have,” said founder of Game Coin David Mahler on Moscona’s radio program. “I just always wanted to be able to provide for people…and since I’m able to do that now, I added that as a part of Game Coin.”

Mahler also said in the interview that three more similar donations are already arranged and they will be announced within the next two weeks.

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