The Rams’ departure has an impact on people who have covered their games, though certainly not to the extent of those who work for the team and stand to lose their jobs or move far away. For the Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas, reporting on the Rams has been his full-time job. For radio broadcasters Steve Savard and D’Marco Farr, it is moonlighting.
Thomas has reported on the team since it arrived in 1995, the only person to have covered each of the 431 “St. Louis” Rams’ games — including playoffs and exhibitions. Post-Dispatch sports editor Roger Hensley said “it’s too early” to know what Thomas will do next, but there is a possibility he’ll continue to cover the NFL.
“Those conversations will take place next week,” he said.
Thomas said he hasn’t looked ahead much.
“We’re almost like players during the season, were focused on what’s immediately ahead,’’ he said. “I’m sure we’ll sit down in the near future and talk about it. We have to follow this (NFL situation) for a while, to see if St. Louis has the desire to pursue another team. It may not have been enticing to Kroenke, but $400 million could be enticing to a team in a normal-size market.”
There have been hard feelings expressed locally, with Mayor Francis Slay saying he has no interest in pursuing another team. But, as Thomas points out, things can change and cites Rams coach Dick Vermeil, who retired shortly after the team’s improbable Super Bowl victory to cap the 1999 season. but regretted the decision and soon thereafter returned to the sidelines, in Kansas City.
“They always say, ‘Step away from something like that for a while’” before making a decision, Thomas said. “Maybe St Louis will do that.”
Savard has been the team’s radio play-by-play broadcaster since 2000, hired after Mike Bush stepped down following his only season (the Super Bowl winner) in the booth.
Savard, who then was the sports director at KMOV (Channel 4), now is the station’s lead male news anchor and assumes his Rams days are over.
“I haven’t been called, I’m sure that’s not a priority for them now,’’ he said. “I’m also sure there are many capable, able-bodied, play-by-play guys chomping at the bit in Southern California to do the job.
“I’m operating under the assumption that I probably have called my last Rams game. I had 16 great years, fortunate to have 16 years calling Rams games as a second job.”
He did not want to amplify on the possibilities of commuting to continue doing the broadcasts.
“I have gainful employment to fall back on at KMOV,’’ he said. “For me to talk at any more length right now about the play-by-play job would be disrespectful to those who are losing their jobs at Rams Park because of the move. There are lives and careers being interrupted by this and I’d be a horse’s patoot if I made myself a topic of discussion. I’m fine, my focus is on my job at KMOV right now.
“I feel bad for the fans who showed up on Sundays, screamed their lungs out and paid there money to support the team. And I feel bad for anyone whose job and career are in jeopardy. I sincerely mean that.”
Farr has been the radio analyst since 2009, when WXOS began broadcasting the games and the year he was hired as a key member of the station’s afternoon drive-time show — on which he remains. He could not be reached.
To read more visit STL Today where this article was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Fred Toucher Tells Paul Finebaum: Your Greatest Talent Is Not Losing It On Callers
“What you’re actually taught in radio — and not to the benefit of people — is to move things along and cut people off.”
98.5 The Sports Hub morning show Toucher & Rich has frequently pointed out the absurdity of callers into The Paul Finebaum Show. Thursday morning, the Boston show welcomed in the southern college football host to discuss what makes his show tick.
“I can’t tell you how big a thrill this is for me, because I didn’t realize how funny our show was until I started listening to you guys,” Finebaum joked.
“Part of the brilliance of your show is you just let these people go,” Fred Toucher said. “For those that don’t know, the instinct in what you’re actually taught in radio — and not to the benefit of people — is to move things along and cut people off. At what point did you realize ‘I’m just gonna let these dudes talk and see where they take it’?”
“I listened to all these radio goobs — I mean all these people in the corner office — tell us how to do it and I realized I can’t do that. I didn’t have the radio voice, I didn’t have the style, I didn’t have the energy. So I just sat there and literally listened to callers ramble on and I started to find the humor in it.
“It hit me one day that these people don’t have a voice,” Finebaum continued. “Especially in the south where we don’t have six or seven professional sports franchises. Callers started becoming famous and becoming a part of the show. We started having lunches with them for Christmas and various other things and days and I think we realized what we had and we made the most of it. Some of these callers really defy logic. I think I’ve given four or five eulogies at various callers funerals and I think that there’s a connection there.”
Finebaum then mentioned one of his more notorious callers, Legend. The caller actually spent more than 20 years in prison after shooting someone six times. Toucher said Legend has actually called into their show but they have never taken his call.
“We don’t take Legend because we’re not gonna do as good a job with him,” Toucher said. “I told our producer, I do not want to take Legend.”
“Paul’s a master with him,” Rich Shertenlieb added.
Gregg Giannotti: CBS Won’t Show Deshaun Watson Accusers Sunday
“I think people know what’s going on. You’re not gonna show them and start trashing them on the broadcast.”
Quarterback Deshaun Watson is set to make his 2022 season debut against his former team on Sunday following an 11-game suspension. Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct, and 10 of the women who believe the now-Cleveland Browns QB preyed upon them are planning to attend the game in Houston. On Boomer & Gio on WFAN on Wednesday, co-host Gregg Giannotti had a thought on CBS cameras dedicating a snippet of the game broadcast to showing the women in attendance.
“I wonder does like the broadcast show them?” Gio asked to co-host Boomer Esiason. “Are you guys gonna have to talk about that on The NFL Today?”
“I have no idea,” Esiason responded. Boomer explained that they hadn’t had their production meeting for this week’s show, but he felt like beyond that he and Gio had already discussed the Watson situation at great length.
Still, Gio said if he were in charge of the CBS broadcast, he would find a way to show the alleged victims’ faces.
“I mean you could show them and explain the situation,” he said. “I think people know what’s going on. You’re not gonna show them and start trashing them on the broadcast.”
Once the 2022 NFL season started, and Watson accepted the suspension and began going through the various processes he needed to go through in order to be reinstated, the focus shifted away from the story. But Gio added that now that Watson is ready to play, the story gets thrust back into the limelight.
“Nobody was talking about it for weeks and weeks and weeks, and now he’s back,” he said. “And now it’s back.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
98.7 ESPN New York Shuffles Lineup, DiPietro & Rothenberg Expanding To Four Hours
DiPietro & Rothenberg will now move to 6:00-10:00 AM to compete directly with WFAN morning show Boomer & Gio.
Andrew Marchand and Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported yesterday and ESPN has since confirmed that 98.7 ESPN New York is expanding its local programming. The station’s morning show DiPietro & Rothenberg will increase to four hours as part of a revamped daily lineup which will go into effect on January 3rd.
DiPietro & Rothenberg currently airs on the station from 5a-8a while ESPN Radio’s national morning show — Keyshawn, JWill, & Max — airs from 8a-10a. By extending the local show, 98.7 ESPN New York will now look to compete locally in all four hours with WFAN’s Boomer & Gio.
Vinny DiMarco, market manager, ESPN New York said, “Our fans will have the opportunity to listen to local coverage on 98.7 ESPN FM all throughout the day.” He continued, “Both DiPietro & Rothenberg as well as Bart & Hahn will give fans valuable insight, expertise, and live reaction about all things New York sports. The change also provides more opportunities for our partners to align with the station and achieve their marketing goals and objectives.”
Additionally, ESPN Radio’s Bart & Hahn will move back to 98.7 ESPN New York as an exclusively local show. Bart Scott played a portion of his NFL career for the New York Jets, and worked at both WFAN and 98.7 ESPN New York before the show moved to the national stage. Alan Hahn has spent more than 25 years working in New York media with Newsday, MSG Network, and 98.7 ESPN New York.
“We are always looking for the best ways to serve sports fans and we are excited to bring even more New York flavor and content to local fans throughout their day on 98.7,” said Scott McCarthy, vice president, ESPN Audio. “Expanding DiPietro & Rothenberg in morning drive, being fortunate enough to have Bart & Hahn back as a local New York show, and continuing with all of our other outstanding local shows will create consistency for listeners and give our hosts a greater opportunity to engage with audiences, and each other, on the day’s top stories.”
The local changes do require some additional adjustments on ESPN Radio’s side as well. The national network will install Jason Fitz and Harry Douglas into the newly opened 12p-3p slot. The 7p-9p evening show will now belong to the team of Joe Fortenbaugh and Amber Wilson. They fill the void created by Sarah Spain who recently announced her departure.
Greeny — hosted by Mike Greenberg — will remain in its current 10a-12p timeslot on the station. However, the move to a local morning show on 98.7 ESPN New York does raise questions about KJM‘s future on ESPN Radio.
The Michael Kay Show, and the station’s other local programs hosted by Dan Graca, Larry Hardesty and Gordon Damer all remained unchanged.