With the departure of Steve Somers from WFAN, along with the implementation of new premium subscription services, such as The Athletic and ESPN+, WFAN welcomed sports media columnist for The New York Post Andrew Marchand to the program to talk about the latest happenings across the industry. The conversation centered around a foray into the concept of “Post Sports+,” a new paid subscription service being offered by The New York Post which is being branded as “A whole new ball game for The Best Sports in Town.” Many of Marchand’s columns about the latest news in sports media are available to read for free on The New York Post website, and he often tweets about the latest news in the industry on his own personal Twitter page, making his role within the service seem, at least to the hosts of Boomer and Gio, confounding.
“I read the New York Post sports section every day,” said Gregg Gianotti. “I think it’s some of the best reporting that we have in the City… I’m a guy who is consuming your stuff every single day. The stuff that is Post Sports+ I wouldn’t touch with somebody else’s eyes… If you’re going to do Post Sports+, why not put the good stuff behind the paywall?”
Marchand explained the strategy being enacted by The New York Post to augment its revenue stream.
“I think what we’re doing is more additive,” said Marchand. “[For] people that have read the Post online previously, nothing’s changed. If you like sports media, I’m now doing a Monday newsletter all about sports media [where] I’m trying to give you more in terms of inside the business. That’s extra, and part of your monthly subscription… Obviously, what we’re trying to do is add revenue, but do it without taking that core business where we’re getting millions of people every day who come to the website.”
Marchand continued to elaborate on the strategy when pressed by Giannotti regarding just who this subscription service was appealing to, ostensibly positing that it is an effort to ensure that The New York Post stays around for another 220 years.
“You’re not getting everybody,” elucidated Marchand. “That’s not how a subscription works. If you get one out of 10 people, then you have a chance at success. Because of the digital world, [distribution] has changed. Back in the day, The New York Post could only reach as far as the trucks would drive. Now [with] distribution, you can reach around the world. I don’t know our demographics of Post Sports+, but in theory, when you look at a subscription site, you get a certain amount that’s additive revenue to The New York Post, and that’s the idea behind it.”
Show co-host and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason then chimed in on the discussion, discerning what he does when WFAN asks him to participate in extra station activities, such as meeting with sponsors, in a lighthearted exchange.
“I wouldn’t really do a lot,” said Esiason. “I used to do a lot. No more — I just tell them to go eff off and leave me alone… No, I’m just kidding.”
“That might have worked with [Mark] Chernoff, but is that going to work with Spike Eskin?,” questioned Marchand, generating laughter in the studios at 345 Hudson St.
Esiason then spoke about the burden it is for him to be bothered by multiple subscription services from The New York Post; that is, having to subscribe to both the paper itself and Post Sports+ to get a full plethora of stories. He believes the paper is making a mistake in this regard, and, as a writer, Marchand agrees.
“I’ve asked about that because I actually agree with you on that one,” said Marchand. “I’ve been told that they’re working on that. I tend to agree that there should be some sort of deal there — [maybe] if you’re paying for The New York Post app, maybe you get Post Sports+?”
Whatever the future holds for Post Sports+, Marchand figures to be covering the world of sports media across multiple platforms, aligning with the approach many sectors of traditional and digital media are beginning to take in producing and distributing their content to the largest audience possible.
Sean Thompson Named New Program Director of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM
“Thompson has spent the past ten years in Atlanta, working for 92.9 The Game as its Assistant Brand Manager.”
After going thru a nationwide search over the past few months, Bonneville Phoenix has found their man. The company has announced the hiring of Sean Thompson as Program Director of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and ESPN 620 Phoenix.
Thompson has spent the past ten years in Atlanta with 92.9 The Game as its Assistant Brand Manager. He played a key role alongside former PD Terry Foxx building and developing The Game into a southeast sports radio powerhouse. Over the past two years with Foxx in Charlotte, he’s reported to Audacy VP of Programming Reggie Rouse, assuming more day to day responsibility. Among his duties, managing the station’s play by play partnerships with the Atlanta Falcons, Hawks and United FC, and keeping The Game’s talk shows on track and in a strong ratings position.
“It was going to need to be the ultimate opportunity for me to leave The Game and I’ve found it,” said Thompson. “With the talented talk shows, flagship relationships with all the local teams and full commitment to digital content, the potential for the Arizona Sports super brand is limitless.”
Thompson takes over for Rod Lakin, who left the station in October to become Sports Radio WIP’s brand manager in Philadelphia.
“Sean is the perfect person to lead Arizona’s Sports Station to new heights,” shared Bonneville Phoenix SVP/Market Manager Ryan Hatch. “He is strategic, creative, collaborative and we can’t wait to see what he will do to continue to grow the Arizona Sports brand on all channels.”
Thompson’s industry experience should serve him well moving into his new role. In addition to his work at 92.9 The Game, he’s also spent six years in Madison, WI as an On-Air host and Program Director, and five years with Westwood One working in their Affiliate Relations department.
Paul Finebaum: ‘I Guard My Callers Fiercely’
“Nobody has better callers than we do. I’ll fight you to the death on that.”
In an interview with Barrett Sports Media’s Demetri Ravanos, Paul Finebaum was asked about other outlets using content from callers on his show. The calls from The Paul Finebaum Show have become famous for the outrageousness and passion-filled voices from fans calling in. Other shows will sometimes take clips of these calls and get a good laugh out of them.
Ravanos asked Finebaum how he felt when other shows use this content and rib the callers, particularly shows that are not broadcast in the South such as Toucher and Rich.
“Well, I’ve heard many bits on Toucher and Rich, and they’re hilarious, I’m more than happy to provide gobs of entertainment and content for them,” said Finebaum.
“However, I guard fiercely our callers. I think because we started in Birmingham and never had the tools that we do now being affiliated with ESPN, we had to depend on something else and the callers were the show. I think, I don’t care, there may be better talk show hosts — I’m sure there are better talk show hosts, and better guests and more entertaining subjects — nobody has better callers than we do. I’ll fight you to the death on that.”
Finebaum added that one of the main reasons the show’s callers are so great is because they feel at home and part of the show.
“And some of the reason is that I think we make them feel comfortable,” Finebaum said. “You go back 25, 30 years before television, this is the Cheers bar where everybody knows your name, where you feel comfortable, you belly up and you tell your story and that has happened.
“We get the crazy people, the never-Georgia crowd who insist that Alabama is still the national champion because Alabama’s best player got hurt, but we also hear stories everyday of death and tragedy.”
Finebaum explained how the show has been a savior to listeners and gotten them through tough times.
“I mean, I don’t think we go a day where somebody doesn’t call up and go ‘Listen, my mom’s in hospice, but she’s a big fan of the show’ or ‘I just lost my dad and when Georgia won the national championship, listening or watching your show; it helped bring back his memory,'” said Finebaum.
“And that to me is very important. I respect all the people that come on. I used to work with Colin Cowherd and I thought he was brilliant. He would come on and articulate and pontificate for 15 or 20 minutes. I’m not capable of doing that, I don’t have that, but he does. But I’ve also had people like Tony Kornheiser pull me aside and go, ‘What the blank are these people that call into your show, why do you talk to these morons?’ Because they are my family and as long as I’m sitting behind a microphone, they will have a voice.”
You can listen to or watch The Paul Finebaum Show Monday through Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network, ESPN Radio, and Sirius XM Channel 81.
Finebaum will be on this week’s edition of BSM’s Media Noise Podcast. During the conversation, he talks about his start in radio, why the SEC Network is better positioned for success than other conference networks, and what he thinks about big SEC games on ESPN+.
Sports Radio 610’s John Lopez Releases OG Sauce At Texas Star Grill Shops
“John Lopez has been making his OG Sauce for friends and family for years. Now, listeners and other meat enthusiasts can own a bottle themselves for $6.99.”
If you’re in Texas, you can put a little Houston sports radio in your belly. Sports Radio 610’s John Lopez announced on Twitter that his name will be on a line of grilling sauces available through the Texas Star Grill Shops.
The announcement was met with real enthusiasm. John Lopez spent the day retweeting photos and answering questions relating to how to buy and use the sauce.
A rival even gave into the excitement. ESPN 97.5 & 92.5’s Jake Asman tweeted that he had purchased a bottle of OG Sauce.
Sports Radio 610 boss Armen Williams has been doing his part to support the effort too. He tweeted that he had purchased plenty for himself. He also updated his followers on the stock at various Texas Star Grill Shop locations.
John Lopez has been making his OG Sauce for friends and family for years. Now, listeners and other meat enthusiasts can own a bottle themselves for $6.99.
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