With the 2022 National Football League fast approaching, a major announcement was made Wednesday morning regarding the radio broadcast rights to Washington Commanders games in 2022 and beyond. As first announced on The Team 980’s The Kevin Sheehan Show in Washington, D.C., Commanders football games will no longer be broadcast over Audacy stations, including The Team 980 and sister station 106.7 The Fan, along with 910 The Fan in Richmond, Va.
In the announcement, Sheehan cited a disagreement between Audacy and the Commanders organization regarding “the value of the broadcasts” as one of the reasons for the split, along with ensuring that the stations can provide objective coverage of the team. While games will no longer be available to hear on Audacy, ESPN 630 The Sports Capitol, at the moment, will still be broadcasting games in 2022, although that could be subject to change.
After the news went public, The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan reacted to the news of Audacy dropping the Commanders from their programming lineup, and provided some telling insight regarding the relationship between the team and stations now formerly part of its radio network.
“It doesn’t change our show one bit or another,” said show host John-Paul Flaim. “Like, we’ve done our show with the rights and without the rights.”
Aside from the Commanders failing to win a Super Bowl championship since 1991, the team has had its fair share of issues off of the gridiron, including outrage at resisting to change the team’s name from “Redskins” and team owner Daniel Synder being investigated by the NFL for allowing a workplace culture of unchecked sexual harassment throughout the organization.
Snyder, who once owned the flagship station of the team, has been at the center of debate regarding his responsibility in the team losing various sponsorship deals, such as a multi-million dollar contract with Anheuser-Busch InBev. Additionally, attendance has been considerably lower over the past few seasons at the team’s home stadium, with the apparent lack of maintenance and repairs at FedEx Field making for less than ideal conditions for attendees and players alike.
Junkies host Eric Bickel stated that he did not believe 106.7 The Fan received any benefit from putting Commanders games on its airwaves, and in a particularly revealing remark, said that the station has had no relationship with the team for two decades.
Being able to cover the team in an objective manner while holding the radio rights was something that, purportedly, affiliates were struggling to do without complaints or fear of retaliation from the organization. This morning, co-host John “Cakes” Auville reaffirmed 106.7 The Fan’s commitment to bring its listeners thoughtful and honest commentary and analysis about the football team.
“Look, if the team does really well and then starts making the right moves, we’ll praise them – we’ll be the first to praise them,” Auville said. “If they continue to flail and be mediocre to bad, we’re [going to] spotlight that too. That’s just what we do. We’ve been doing that for 25-plus years, and this news doesn’t affect us.”
“No, it doesn’t affect us at all,” interjected Bickel into the conversation. “It should affect us… We should have probably gotten some better treatment [in the past]. It actually really didn’t help us.”
The Sports Junkies will not be changing the format of their show because of the station dropping the Commanders. Instead, the program will now be able to more comfortably provide objective coverage to its audience.
However, one thing the show hosts hope eliminating team broadcasts will do for them is to allow the station to allocate more money towards the show – something that the hosts believe provides more value to the station than the Washington Commanders.
“Let’s hope they’re assembling a war chest for the Junks instead of sending it on [to] the [Commanders],” quipped Auville.
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”