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Le Batard and Stugotz Get New Deal With ESPN

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Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News reported this morning that ESPN was nearing a new deal with Dan Le Batard, who was set to become free agent this summer. ESPN has just confirmed the news with an official press release.

Dan Le Batard and Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, hosts of the popular daytime ESPN Radio program The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz have signed multiyear agreements to remain with ESPN. The duo will continue to host their Miami-based program, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET, on ESPN Radio (and simulcast on ESPNEWS). Le Batard will also continue to co-host Highly Questionable alongside his father Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard and another of a rotating crop of guest hosts. Le Batard will also conduct six longform interviews each year that will live across multiple ESPN platforms including TV and digital. Weiner will make appearances on SportsCenter and continue hosting and guesting on other ESPN Radio shows.

Ryan Glasspiel of The Big Lead had reported earlier this year that Le Batard was considering taking his radio show to Sirius/XM, where he might have the opportunity to build out his own channel with talent he felt best complimented his show. It appears that possibility and those rumors can be put to bed.

A new deal was never a given after the exit of John Skipper writes McCarthy.

Le Batard is close friends with former ESPN president John Skipper, leading some to speculate he’d bolt after Skipper’s sudden departure in December.

A red-eyed Le Batard choked back tears on the air when he learned about Skipper’s abrupt resignation due to a substance addiction. “This person has created everything that exists here at ESPN for us,” Le Batard said. “He did it because of how he cares about minorities and their causes.”

Le Batard expressed his gratitude and excitement over the new contract in the official ESPN press release.

“ESPN has given us ridiculous freedom to have fun, and made us more popular than we deserve,” said Le Batard. “A whole lot of people have supported our nonsense in a way that isn’t always easy to support but easy to grow. As an added bonus – and we’re especially thankful for this – they also pay us.”

Weiner, very much in character as Stugotz, is only quoted as saying that he is disappointed that the new deal isn’t a lifetime contract.

Sports Radio News

Tobin and Leroy Debut on WQAM Middays

“This is a big change for us,” Tobin said. “I’ve been doing morning drive, producing or hosting now, for the last decade. Now it’s to middays we go.”

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Tobin and Leroy

After a brief hiatus and the closure of 790 The Ticket, Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard officially returned to the Miami airwaves on Monday on 560 WQAM.

Tobin and Leroy debuted in its new midday timeslot of 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the station.

“This is a big change for us,” Tobin said. “I’ve been doing morning drive, producing or hosting now, for the last decade. Now it’s to middays we go.”

Tobin added that the timing between when they made their exit from The Ticket and returned on WQAM was a bit off.

“It was a very weird week for us to take off last week. Because they were like, ‘Hey, you’re change times, you’re gonna change stations, and also it’s gonna be the busiest sports week of the year,'” he said. “So now we’re back, and nothing will happen this week.”

“There has been less action on days we thought we had to be here than what happened last week,” Hoard added.

Hoard actually arrived to the show late, citing traffic issues getting to the station. That was something even Tobin noted is an adjustment they have to make from when they were doing morning drive.

“We’ve all discovered here today is traffic is not the same at 8 a.m. as it is at 4 a.m.,” he said. “Very different.”

Tobin made sure WQAM listeners knew that even though they switched stations, the show isn’t changing. They continued with all the usual segments that fans know and love on Monday.

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Sports Radio News

Mike Rhyner Introduces Dallas to 97.1 The Freak

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

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Ben Torres / Special Contributor Dallas Morning News

There’s a new radio station in Dallas which features a number of personalities familiar to local sports radio listeners. 97.1 The Freak made its much anticipated debut and the first voice to be heard belonged to the ”Old Grey Wolf” Mike Rhyner.

97.1 The Eagle stopped regular programming late Monday morning and began stunting, a technique radio stations use to separate listeners from old programming and prepare them for new content. The station began by playing songs with the word “freak” in them before transitioning into a continuous loop of “The Waiting is the Hardest Part” by Tom Petty until 3p CT. Then, a voiceover detailing the Eagle’s history switched into the voice that Dallas-Forth Worth residents have gotten to know so well, Mike Rhyner.

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

Rhyner went on to relive his final moments at The Ticket in Dallas. He said he was getting his “head around being a Paw Paw” before getting a call from Ben Rogers of the Ben and Skin Show and thus an idea for The Freak began to take shape.

After that, the show’s intro music played and Rhyner welcomed in Mike Sirois and before you knew it, the guys were wondering about a quarterback controversy in Dallas.

97.1 The Freak is off and running with a lineup that includes “The Speakeasy,” with Jeff Cavanaugh, Kevin “KT’ Turner, Julie Dobbs, and Matt Cather in mornings (7-11am), “Ben & Skin Show” in middays (11am-3pm) and “The Downbeat” in afternoons (3p-7p) featuring Mike Rhyner alongside Mike Sirois and Michael “Grubes” Gruber.

The station is positioning itself as a lifestyle brand but given its talent connection to local sports radio and the strong interest in Dallas sports, it’s likely the talent will weave sports talk into their on-air discussions. Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket and 105.3 The Fan have enjoyed good ratings with the male 25-54 demographic and The Freak is expected to challenge them and every other brand that produces spoken word content.

“We’re beyond excited to introduce 97-1 the Freak – the level of talent is insurmountable, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to further connect with Dallas Fort Worth,” Patrick Davis, Regional Senior Vice President of Programming Dallas, shared in an announcement.

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Sports Radio News

Howie Rose Plans to Travel for Mets Postseason Games

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose said.

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Howie Rose has cut back on his travel schedule as the radio voice of the New York Mets in 2022, but he says that no place is off limits during the playoffs.

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose told Newsday. “A lot of this was designed to make sure that I had enough reserve to be able to handle anything that comes up in terms of road trips.”

Rose, 68, readies for what is likely to be a Wild Card series start to the playoffs and because of their Wild Card status, a win there could mean a trip to Los Angeles for the National League Divisional Series.

“It’s not exactly like managing Edwin Diaz’s innings, but I think that doing the number of games that I have and more to the point, being able to take the breaks that I have, has enabled me to approach the postseason with a clear mind and the full-speed-ahead attitude that you need to have.”

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