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Why Does Eli Do WFAN Call-Ins?

Jason Barrett

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Eli Manning is not a local radio star. He just gets paid like one.

He earns somewhere around $250,000 per season, according to radio sources, for his weekly appearances that last a few minutes on WFAN. This is a mere pittance compared to the $84 million contract ($65 million guaranteed) he just signed with the Giants.

Manning does not need the radio money. So, why does he bother doing the weekly spot? Why deal with the aggravation these sessions produce? Likewise for all the other players — including Odell Beckham Jr., Muhammad Wilkerson and Prince Amukamara — who currently are paid (far, far, far less than Manning) to run their mouth on the radio. Outside of the cash, what good does it do them?

There’s much more downside, even risk.

Look at the week Manning just had.

His scatter-brained approach late in Sunday night’s Dallas fiasco had the media whipping him like desperate jockeys down the stretch at Aqueduct. Instead of being able to lay low Monday, Manning had to fulfill his radio commitment and explain his bizarre decisions to Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa, who on this occasion decided not to interrupt.

Granted, Manning’s audience with the pontiff was followed by a conference call with reporters. Still, Francesa had it straight from the quarterback’s mouth — first, which means even more now in the world of tweetily-dee. WFAN got its money’s worth out of Manning. It was a win for the FANdroids.

Manning? He may as well have left that interview session with a “Rip Me” sign on his back. By no means was this the first time Manning delivered, to his own detriment, on the radio.

In 2011, while yakking for ESPN-98.7, Michael Kay asked him if he was a “top 10, top five” quarterback.

“Yeah, I think I am,” Manning said at the time. Asked specifically if he was the same level as Tom Brady, Manning paused and then said: “Yeah, I consider myself in that class. And Tom Brady is a great quarterback.”

For ESPN-98.7, this was a major score. For Manning it was a another lesson on being an object of ridicule. He had deposited himself smack in the middle of a controversy and a debate that raged inside the Valley of the Stupid and other media precincts. To this very day, it still resurrects itself, especially when Manning pulls a rock and the first-time-caller, long-time-moron crowd takes over.

When station brass enters a radio relationship with a player it is always one-sided. The suits know the eventual upside (aka ANY type controversy) is worth their investment. The minor risk is the cat is reluctant to go off the script (that’s the direction Wilkerson has taken on FAN with Joe Benigno/Evan Roberts) written by the team’s PR department, leaving the Gasbags to carry him.

And Wilkerson is quite a load.

Benigno: “What about your contract, Muhammad?”

Wilkerson: “You better take that up with my agent.”

Scintillating radio, right?

Come on, Manning must have a valid reason to risk being put on the spot for what, in his world, is chump change. There’s this notion as the face of the Giants, Manning wants to put his “message” out to the unwashed masses after each game. That sounds nice but rings totally hollow. Is this about Manning looking down the road at landing a TV gig when he retires? His understated delivery suggests this is not what he aspires to.

A variety of marketing agents, who negotiate radio deals for current NFL players, say Manning actually extends his media profile by doing radio, which could help lead to more endorsements. Considering the number of commercials Manning appears in, the strategy is working.

Others who don’t possess a quarter of Manning’s marquee value take the radio plunge simply so the public can hear them speak. This helps when it comes to landing personal appearances, which are far, far less lucrative than commercial endorsements.

Yet for these guys, the odds of radio appearances leading to more money, in terms of endorsements or a TV job when they retire, are long. In fact, the appearances can have a far more detrimental affect than the fallout Manning got after the “elite” spot with Kay or Manning’s recent conversation with the Pope.

Like when Jeremy Shockey went into self-destructive mode in 2002 doing a weekly appearance with Francesa and Chris (Mad Dog) Russo. They came on strong with Shockey, who was taking their heat for the grand sum of $1,000 per appearance. Shockey reacted to FranDog’s tough line of questioning by either showing up late or not showing up at all. For this, the Gasbags labeled him “unreliable” and “unprofessional.” Shockey never shook that perception.

On the other side of the equation is Antrel Rolle, who was must-listen radio when he performed on WFAN with Benigno/Roberts. Rolle stirred the pot and took the heat that came his way. For all this, Rolle, now on the Bears, can’t get a radio gig in Chicago.

Maybe he should consult with Eli.

Credit to the NY Daily News who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

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In another cut from Audacy, 1140 The Bet has cancelled The Playmakers on their Las Vegas station.

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Brown tweeted the news, saying “Sadly I have been informed that yesterday was our final show. I am thankful for the people it brought into my life & the experiences we created I am incredibly proud of our work & the boundaries we are eager to push in sportz radio. Today is a tough day. Tomorrow is on the way.”

Hernandez followed up by tweeting “I can’t put into words right now how I feel right now but in my radio journey from College in Tampa to Phoenix and now Las Vegas you were the best teammate I’ve ever had in radio and more importantly a great person. I appreciate and will miss you Badass Brown.”

According to the station’s website, it will replace The Playmakers with You Better You Bet from the BetQL Network.

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Sports Radio News

1250-AM The Fan in Milwaukee Reportedly Cancels Local Programming

The station is streaming CBS Sports and has removed the local daily lineup from the 1250 AM The Fan website.

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1250 AM The Fan

Stunning sports radio news out of Milwaukee. 1250-AM The Fan has suddenly removed all of its local programming and switched over to CBS Sports Radio.

The news came as a shock to local listeners but even more surprising to the station’s staff. Here’s a tweet from Evan Heffelfinger noting that today was “everyone’s” last day at the station.

The station’s stream is currently airing CBS Sports Radio. The local daily lineup has also been removed from the 1250 The Fan website although show podcasts still remain.

In regards to the station’s talent, most have been quiet since the news began to trickle out. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that recent NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler was part of the cuts. Bart Winkler, Tim Allen, and Gary Ellerson are expected to be out as well.

One host who may remain involved is Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer. Fifer was part of the midday show, and also helped behind the scenes. According to sources, he’s likely to contribute off-air and with additional brand projects. The rest will have an opportunity to explore opportunities should any become available at 97.3 The Game, ESPN 94.1, WTMJ or any other local outlets.

Upon learning of the news, a few former 1250 hosts, Mike Wickett and Cliff Saunders, took to social media to share their sadness.

Ryan Maguire, who served as the PD of 1250 The Fan from 2006-2009, and is currently the PD of crosstown rivals ESPN Milwaukee and WTMJ, provided his perspective.

One host who left before the station was dismantled was former afternoon man Ramie Makhlouf. The longtime Milwaukee voice exited in June to join Sactown Sports 1140.

This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we’ll pass it along. 1250-AM The Fan is owned by Audacy, which just announced plans to reduce 5% of its programming staff.

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Sports Radio News

Fred Toucher: Fred Roggin Rant ‘Is Why Everyone Thinks Radio Sucks’

“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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A recent piece in the L.A. Times painting the picture of why the sports radio audience in Los Angeles is smaller than that of Boston struck a nerve locally.

And when AM 570 LA Sports host Fred Roggin tried to explain why Boston does so much better with listeners, Fred Toucher couldn’t contain himself.

Let me give it to you in a nutshell real, real quickly,” Roggin said in a clip that played during Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday. “The implication here is that you don’t care. Do they have as many Latinos living in Boston? I don’t think so, and if you look at the ratings, they don’t. We’re a melting pot, we’re very different here. Sports is a niche audience.

Toucher and company laughed at the sound byte before Toucher laid into Roggin.

“Does that mean that Latinos don’t like sports?” he asked. “To do well in Los Angeles, you have to adapt to the market, you jackass! Latinos have to listen to ya.”

Roggin and co-host Rodney Peete sounded even more out of touch in the clip by saying that part of the reason more people listen to sports talk in Boston is because of weather and an affinity for baked beans. Additionally, there’s just more to do in LA versus Boston.

“He is under the impression that the east coast is really something else,” Toucher said. “But he’s painting the east coast as if like no one lives out here. Like New York City and Philadelphia are these minor flyover states. It’s really funny.”

Toucher understood Roggin taking the time to go on the defensive, but he just couldn’t get over the way in which the defense was presented.

“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said. “What do you care if the station in Boston does better than you? What does it matter to you?! Clean up your own business! Jesus Christ!”

“This is the first time I think I’ve ever heard the northeast described as like toothless hicks that like got nothing better to do,” Toucher added.

Toucher finished his point by piling on the hosts further, saying that if their show aired anywhere else, it would fail.

“This is why everyone thinks radio sucks,” Toucher said before the rest of the Roggin clip was played.

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