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Fox Strikes Out With Its World Series Coverage

Jason Barrett



Regardless of the result, sports always leaves us with a decision to second guess. No better example exists today than the one we saw unfold last night in Game 5 of the World Series when Mets Manager Terry Collins stuck with his ace Matt Harvey, only to watch the Royals rally to tie the game in the 9th inning, and then win the championship in the 12th.

Well, the broadcasting business is no different. We all have opinions that differ on individual personalities, radio stations, and television networks, and I have a few I’d like to share on Fox’s presentation this year during the World Series.

It’s well documented that Game 1 was a technical nightmare for the network due to losing power and causing a delay in the action. Pete Rose not being part of the entire series, due to prior obligations was also a bad blemish on the network. It’s the freaking World Series! How do you hire an analyst, and not have them available for every single broadcast during the year’s biggest games?

bighurtEqually disappointing were the contributions of Frank Thomas. When asked for a prediction at the start of the series, Thomas said “ask me after Game 3“. While I don’t put much stock into analyst predictions, giving one shouldn’t be difficult.

Even more disappointing was his commentary on the post-game show. Last night after the Royals won the World Series, Thomas said “The Mets have nothing to hold their heads down for, except they didn’t play that well, and gave away the World Series“.

The broadcast team of Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci also had their fare share of problems. In recent years, we became annoyed with Tim McCarver’s explanations, and opinions, but that same authoritative presence, and understanding of game situations, was what made him good. Unfortunately this crew lacks that strong personality with big stage experience, and it hurt the broadcast.

Joe Buck, despite the criticism that follows him wherever he goes, did a really good job during this Series. He presented the storylines, advanced the dialogue, knew when to interject, and when to sit out. Last night for example, before it even became an issue, Buck was the first to point out “Terry Collins is going to have an interesting decision to make about whether or not to stick with Harvey or turn it over to his closer Familia“. Fox’s cameras then caught video of Harvey in the dugout being told he was done, and then additional footage of the Mets ace making his pitch to Collins to stay in. That added to the drama, and was an excellent job by the Fox production team.

hrWhen the biggest moments in a game arise, Harold Reynolds is at his worst. During Game 5 last night, when Kelly Johnson of the Mets came up to bat, Reynolds added “Kelly Johnson can hit home runs with the best of them“. Any good baseball fan knows that remark is untrue. Johnson is not in the same category with Giancarlo Stanton, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, or even his own teammate Yoenis Cespedes. He’s also not even in his team’s starting lineup.

Reynolds also presents information at times without even thinking it through. On two occasions last night he said things that had me questioning whether or not an analyst was even necessary in the booth. The first one was during the start of the broadcast when he added “the pressure tonight is more on the Mets than the Royals“. Then later in the game he uttered “this is the most important pitch of the at-bat. The count’s 2-1. After this, it’ll be 3-1, or 2-2, or a base hit, or an out“.

When your lead analyst provides incorrect information, and delivers commentaries that do little to advance the situation, it takes away from the experience rather than add to it. He even said “Michael Conforto had ice in his veins and the stuff of greatness” when he produced a two out single in the 12th against Wade Davis while the Mets were down 5 runs. This is supposed to be the game’s best analyst, and I find myself tuning him out during big moments of a game, which is when we should be listening most to the commentary of a lead analyst.

wsVerducci, while astute, prepared, and well balanced, comes across with too many cliches for my tastes. I like reading Tom’s work and I thought he did a nice job previously as an in-game reporter, but in that booth, there has to be an understanding of what’s happening on the field, and an ability to explain situations, and how people think and react. Tom doesn’t stand out in those areas.

During this series, he became attached to stating the obvious. For example, last night when Christian Colon entered the game in the 12th inning to pinch-hit, Verducci added “what a time to take your first post-season at bat“. When Lucas Duda failed to make a good throw home to get Eric Hosmer, he said “a good throw gets him“. As Matt Harvey was in the dugout pleading his case to pitch the 9th to Terry Collins, Verducci stated “Terry Collins can’t just think about this moment, he also has to think about the future“.

Maybe I expect too much from the broadcast, but when the insights provided in the booth are equal to those being expressed by the viewing audience, that concerns me. The announcers are supposed to add to the experience, and enlighten the fans about things they’re not aware of. Unfortunately they did little to educate, and a lot to increase mute button activity.

foxwsIf there was one part of the broadcast that truly surprised me, it was Alex Rodriguez’s ability to analyze. Throughout his career he’s been labeled “phony“, “scripted” and “robotic“. He’s often sounded like a guy reading a press release or his own comments off of a teleprompter, so imagine my surprise when Fox decided to include him beyond the Pre and Post-game, and utilize him as an extra voice in the booth during select innings.

If you were watching Game 3, he really stood out during the 6th inning. He pointed out the way Noah Syndergard retired the previous 4 batters and what Royals hitters would be looking for based on his pitch sequences. He also explained how Noah’s bench pressing power has helped him with improving his slider, and shared great insights on the way the Mets hitting coach Kevin Long had worked with Daniel Murphy to improve his power hitting. The only time he didn’t provide great analysis was when Reynolds asked the silly question of “Is there any player better suited for his nickname than Noah, with the name Thor”.

When I watch the biggest series of the year, I want to hear from people who know what the pressure is like, understand the glory of winning and the agony of defeat, and possess the ability to relate to the players, the moment, and the audience. I didn’t get that from this crew.

When an analyst like John Smoltz or Curt Schilling talks about these situations, I buy what they’re selling. They’ve done it before, and know what to look for, and have a great sense of how to communicate it to the viewer. Reynolds and Verducci may be smart, and fine on MLB Tonight, but this is the World Series. Fans, and even Joe Buck, deserve more out of the broadcast than they’ve received. Hopefully Fox works to fix it immediately, and doesn’t just wait for A-Rod to retire.

Crunching The Numbers:

  • 97.1 The Fan in Columbus turned in an incredible October ratings book. For M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid, the station finished 3rd with Persons 25-54 and 1st with Men 25-54. The Fan also finished 1st with Men 25-34, 25-44, 25-49, 25-54, 35-44, and 35-54.
  • The Beast 980 in Los Angeles is experiencing growth throughout the station. Having been on the scene for only a little over a year, October 2015 saw the station’s morning show numbers improve by 133%, 9a-12p was up 50%, afternoons increased by 75%, and the station’s weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) climbed 66%. All percentage increases are based on year to year performance (October 2014 vs. October 2015) in the Men 25-54 category.
  • ESPN 1000 in Chicago enjoyed a great month after strengthening their lineup with the addition of David Kaplan in September. The former WGN host finished #1 overall M-F 12p-2p with Men 25-54. “Waddle and Silvy” won afternoons in a number of key demos, including Men 25-54.
  • 105.3 The Fan and Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket in Dallas each had a compelling case for bragging rights. The Fan was 1st overall with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid. The Ticket placed 4th. However, during weekday prime (M-F 6a-7p) with Men 25-54, The Ticket was 2nd with a 6.1 and The Fan was 3rd with a 5.3. The Ticket benefitted from a big performance in mornings from “The Musers“. The Fan won head to head during middays, afternoons, and evenings.

Under The Radar:

  • Tim Montemayor left his position as Program Director and Morning Show Host of 1320 The Fan in Salt Lake City last month. His wife landed a great job in the Phoenix area which required the family to move. Will Smith is currently hosting the morning show, although the station has been looking for a Program Director with the ability to also perform on-air.
  • Mike Ragozino left his post as Program Director and Afternoon Host of 750 The Game in Portland in September so he could move to Fort Wayne to be closer to his family. Fletcher Johnson and Noah “Chop” Homsley have taken over afternoons on The Game. It’s unclear if the station will be adding a new Program Director or utilizing internal support for day to day operations.
  • Travis Demers took over as host of the “Rip City Drive” weekdays from 3p-5p on Rip City Radio 620 in Portland last Monday. Trail Blazers play-by-play voice Brian Wheeler had previously been hosting the show, and is now appearing as a contributor on the station’s morning and afternoon shows on game days.
  • Jake Scott was promoted to Program Director of 1280 The Zone in Salt Lake City earlier this month. Scott Garrard who previously held the PD title was promoted to Vice President of Programming and Operations.
  • Antonio Daniels left his position as a weekday sports talk show host on ESPN 1250 in San Antonio a few weeks ago. The former NBA player accepted a position as a television analyst for the Oklahoma City Thunder. As a result of his departure, ESPN 1250 is looking to find a new co-host to pair with Ari Temkin.

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Rachel Nichols and Baron Davis Headline Final Speaker Announcements For the 2023 BSM Summit

“I’m sure Baron and Rachel will have all eyes and ears focused on them when they take the stage together next Tuesday at 2:45pm PT.”

Jason Barrett




The 2023 BSM Summit schedule is set. After months of planning and talking to everyone across the industry, I’m ecstatic to roll out next week’s agenda including making one final announcement involving seven great additions to our conference.

For starters, it is a pleasure to welcome Showtime’s Rachel Nichols to the BSM Summit. I’ve admired her work on television for years, and am thrilled to have her guiding a session which I think many in the room are going to really enjoy.

Rachel’s guest will be former NBA star Baron Davis. Baron runs his own company, Baron Davis Enterprises, and he has been active in investing in media brands, and exploring ways to evolve the industry. Among his areas of passion, athletes taking more control of their brands, and the media industry needing to improve its track record with diversity. I’m sure Baron and Rachel will have all eyes and ears focused on them when they take the stage together next Tuesday at 2:45pm PT.

Also joining the Summit are a few longtime industry friends. For starters, VSiN’s program director Jon Goulet is someone who I’ve known and worked with, and he understands the sports betting audio space extremely well. Jon and BetQL VP of Programming Mitch Rosen will spend time with another industry friend, Bryan Curtis of The Ringer. Collectively they’ll examine the state of sports betting audio on Tuesday March 21st from 3:35p-4:10p, and what they look for when it comes to sports betting talent, and how they determine what is and isn’t success in the sports gambling content world.

With Mitch taking part in the sports betting panel, Jeff Rickard of WFNZ in Charlotte steps into The Programmer’s Panel alongside Jimmy Powers, John Mamola and Raj Sharan. The session is scheduled for Wednesday March 22nd from 9:10a-9:45a PT. Ironically, all four of these programmers work for different companies, so it’ll be interesting to hear how they differ and where they align while navigating through a few sports radio programming topics.

Next, I’m excited to introduce a social media session with Karlo Sy Su of ESPN Los Angeles and Matthew Demeke of AM 570 LA Sports. If you look at the performance of their brands on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook, they’ve each delivered strong audiences and engagement. I’m looking forward to hosting this one and learning about their processes, how they decide which platforms to focus on most, what they consider a social media win when analyzing social statistics, and how they develop their content process. Given our location, we’re calling the session ‘Social Media Goes Hollywood‘. It’s scheduled for Wednesday March 22nd from 3:35-4:10 PT.

I realize you’re not going to remember all of these session speakers and times off the top of your head, so to make it easier, log on to and scroll down past our speakers. That’s where you’ll find our detailed list of sessions/times and activities planned each day. We have eighteen sessions, two awards ceremonies, and two parties. Our kickoff party is presented by the WWE and takes place Monday March 20th from 7p-9p at the 1880 Founders Room. The ESPN Radio After Party takes place Tuesday March 21st from 6p-8p at the Lab Gastropub. Both party locations are in walking distance of the USC Hotel and our conference venue.

As an added bonus, thanks to the generosity of our friends at WWE, we will be giving away a pair of tickets to the first night of WrestleMania, and a WWE title at our kickoff party. WrestleMania takes place this year in Los Angeles at Sofi Stadium on March 25-26. You must be present at the kickoff party to win either prize.

We’ll have more to share next week including providing an ongoing blog with session news and notes for our readers. We’ll also have a ton of content available on our social media channels so if you’re not following @BSMStaff on Twitter, @BarrettSportsMedia on Facebook or @BarrettMedia on LinkedIn, what are you waiting for?

The focus now shifts to finishing our creative for next week’s show, sending information to our speakers for their sessions, and finalizing our attendees list. For those who are attending, we’ll be sending out an email on Friday or Saturday with a complete list of names of who’s coming so you can plan meetings in advance.

If you forgot to buy your ticket after seeing months of promotion about the event and meant to do so, you can still do that, but it costs more. Students on the other hand can take advantage of a low rate established for college kids at

Putting this event together isn’t easy, but I’m extremely pleased with how it’s come together. We have a lot of smart, talented, and accomplished people making time to be part of this, and I appreciate each and every one of them for doing so. Now, it’s all about the execution. Hope to see you next week in LA.

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Sports Broadcasting Icon Al Michaels To Be Honored at the 2023 BSM Summit

“This is a man who has spent more than five decades on your television screen calling the biggest games, and producing some of the most iconic moments sports has to offer.”

Jason Barrett




If you work in the sports media industry you’ve likely heard someone along the way utter the phrase “don’t bury the lead“. I’m usually good about following that advice but I didn’t do that at our 2022 BSM Summit.

We introduced the greatest tandem in sports radio history, Mike Francesa and Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo and it was a special half hour. Mike and the Mad Dog were reunited after seven years apart and every individual at the event knew they were witnessing something magical on stage. I created a Mike and the Mad Dog Award for the event, which went to Felger and Mazz, who were the absolute right choice to win it. Even Chris remarked ‘that’s the right call‘.

But I learned quickly that although the intention was right in honoring the industry’s current top performing show, when you have legends in the room and they’re in their element, the last thing you want to do is overcrowd them. The connection Mike and Chris had on the air became the gold standard by which we measure successful sports talk shows, and they didn’t need an award created to deliver a special moment, just two mics and 20-30 minutes of stage time.

As I began thinking about the 2023 BSM Summit, I knew there was an opportunity to build on what we started last year with Mike and Chris, and after talking to a few people who I trust and respect, the decision of who we would recognize became crystal clear. I believe it’s important to honor the greats in our business because those who leave a permanent mark on our industry deserve it. The man we’ve selected has spent more than five decades on your television screen calling the biggest games, and producing some of the most iconic moments sports has to offer. He’s worked with the best of the best inside the booth, has helped elevate the presentation and execution of in-game content for ABC, NBC and Amazon, and his call of the Miracle on Ice, the US Olympic hockey team’s 1980 gold medal win over Russia remains one of the best calls in the history of sports.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honored and privileged to share that Al Michaels will join us on Wednesday March 22nd at the 2023 BSM Summit for our awards presentation, where we will present him with BSM’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Michaels is one of America’s most respected sports broadcasting voices, known for his exceptional work on Monday Night Football (1986-2005), Sunday Night Football (2006-2022) and Thursday Night Football (2022-Present). He’s called the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, Hagler-Hearns, the Olympics, the Indy 500, Horse Racing’s Triple Crown races, College Football and Basketball games, Golf, and more. He’s even held roles as the voice of the University of Hawaii, the Cincinnati Reds, and the San Francisco Giants, and was in the booth in 1989 when an earthquake rocked the Bay Area during Game 3 of the A’s-Giants world series.

The Brooklyn native turned Los Angeles resident has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and owns a ton of hardware including five sports Emmy’s, three NSMA Sportscaster of the Year honors, the 2013 Pete Rozelle Radio & Television Award distributed by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award given out by the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Though his trophy case may be full, we’re excited to add another to his collection to show our appreciation and respect for the impact he’s made on the sports media business.

A quick reminder, the BSM Summit takes place on Tuesday March 21st and Wednesday March 22nd at the Founders Club at the University of Southern California. Tickets are on-sale at

Be advised, we have started adding sessions and times on the website. As always, the schedule is subject to change. Our final agenda will be posted by the end of next week. In addition, attendees will receive an email by next Friday with details of who will be in attendance. We hope to see you there.

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Rob Parker, Brian Long, Sean Thompson and Matt Fishman Join The BSM Summit Speaker Lineup

“I’m excited to welcome a few folks who have enjoyed success in different parts of the country, and in different areas of the business.”

Jason Barrett




As we gear up for our 5th annual BSM Summit on March 21-22, 2023, I’m starting to get a better feel for how the final puzzle may look. When this process starts I have no idea how it’s going to turn out because so much depends on who says yes and no. Many who’ve attended over the years have complimented our lineups, and I appreciate it because I put a lot of time and effort into featuring a strong mix of professionals from different areas of the industry. Though I’m proud of the work we do and the schedule we deliver, there are so many things pursued leading up to the event that I can’t help but wonder ‘what if this or that had worked out?’

One thing that some folks don’t understand if they haven’t been to the show before is that this is not a talent conference. It’s a sports media business conference. That means we feature radio, TV and digital executives, programmers, researchers, sales professionals, and yes, talent. I believe on-air performers are vital to the industry’s success and I want the best of the best sharing their wisdom with everyone in the room, but we’re also not going to do two full days of on-air conversations. Being successful in sports media requires understanding the on-air side and the business side, and we do our best to offer a blend of both.

For today’s announcement, I’m excited to welcome a few sports media pros who have enjoyed success in different parts of the country, and in different areas of the business.

First, Rob Parker is someone who has made a name for himself as a radio host, writer, TV commentator, and teacher. He’s currently heard weeknights on FOX Sports Radio, teaches students at USC Annenberg, writes for Deadspin, and is helping MLBBro gain awareness and a bigger mainstream media presence covering Major League Baseball. He’s experienced, smart, and never short on opinion. I’m looking forward to having him join Mitch Rosen of 670 The Score/BetQL, and Scott Shapiro of FOX Sports Radio for a session titled “Aircheck On Campus“. They’ll take the stage together on Wednesday March 22nd from 2:10-2:45.

My next three speakers, all come from the sports radio programming department.

Matt Fishman is the Director of Content for ESPN 850 Cleveland. Fishman has been with the brand since January 2020 following stints at SiriusXM, 610 Sports in Kansas City, and 670 The Score in Chicago. He even wrote for BSM for a few years.

Sean Thompson is responsible for programming decisions at Arizona Sports and ESPN 620 AM. He joined the well respected Phoenix brand after more than a decade in Atlanta at 92.9 The Game. Sean has also worked in affiliate relations for Westwood One, and on the air and as a programmer in music radio for Good Karma Brands in Madison, WI.

Brian Long is the program director of both San Diego Sports 760 and KOGO 600 in San Diego. In addition to guiding two of the top talk brands in his market, he has also managed Seattle Sports 710, and served as the Assistant Program Director for ESPN LA 710.

Matt, Sean, and Brian will be part of one of our final sessions on day two of the Summit. The Last Call which yours truly is hosting, will explore unique revenue opportunities created by local brands, and examine a few new ideas and missed opportunities that brands and managers may want to take advantage of in the future.

As of today, the Summit has more than forty accomplished professionals taking the stage at the Founders Club at USC’s Galen Center on March 21-22, 2023. I’ve got a few others still to announce as well, including a few cool giveaways planned for the WWE’s Kickoff party.

If you haven’t bought a ticket and wish to be in the room, visit The last day for ticket sales will be Monday March 13th. I’m hoping to release our final schedule of sessions on Tuesday March 14th. Hopefully I’ll see you in the city of angels.

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