In an interview with Jody Genessy of the Deseret News, sports radio host Spence Checketts detailed his efforts to rebuild his life and career following a DUI last February.
His alcohol addiction began shortly after a cancer scare at the age of 25. Six weeks after being released from the hospital, Checketts and his wife divorced, he fell into depression and turned to alcohol. Checketts was arrested three times between 2003 – 2008 before remaining sober until 2016 when his radio career began to take off.
Spence, who is the son of business mogul and former president of the Utah Jazz and New York Knicks Dave Checketts, hosted the afternoon show on Utah’s 1280 The Zone. Checketts resigned from the show soon after he was arrested for going 120mph in a 70mph zone with an open alcohol container in the car. The radio host was sentenced to 180 days in jail, but the judge suspended 145 days and allowed 30 days of credit for the time Checketts spent in rehab, leaving Spencer with almost one week of jail time.
“I’m not mad about it. I totally get it.” Checketts told Genessy about the criticism he’s received from the general public regarding his struggles with addiction. “When you’re in sports-talk radio, you make a living with opinions, and sometimes scathing opinions about the actions of other people. That’s the job,” he said. “You have to have informed, educated opinions, and if somebody else messes up you have to be ready to take them to task. I’ve done it for 15 years so when the shoe’s on the other foot, you can’t throw a fit and say, ‘Leave me alone.’”
After Checketts lost his “dream job,” his radio show with 1280 The Zone along with his game-day analyst role on Jazz broadcasts, the host decided to launch a podcast. Checketts wanted to go beyond just sports and use his voice to raise awareness for people dealing with depression and addiction.
“Let’s talk about lifestyle. Let’s talk about recovery and, really, ultimately, let’s help,” he told Genessy. “Professionally, that’s what is taking all my time right now. I’m really enjoying this, and I’ve got a great business partner. I’ve got a great team. There’s a real chance that this could be very, very successful in a lot of different ways.”
Reality Check with Spence Checketts debuted on Halloween, releasing weekly episodes featuring guests including his father Dave Checketts, former NBA head coach and current ESPN analyst, Jeff Van Gundy and former Jazz coach Frank Layden.
Checketts told Genessy he’s learning from his past and focusing on the present to make good decisions.
“You can’t get too far down the road in the future and you can’t get lost in the minutiae of the past or else the overwhelming dynamic of what you’ve done and what could happen down the road is this mountain of pressure.
“That could motivate you to pick up a drink to numb your feelings. I try hard to not go down that path. Here’s the ultimate thing: It’s a pragmatic approach to life now. This is how I approach every day: If it’s working for me, I’ll continue. What I say to myself is, ‘Do the next right thing.’ Simply just do the next right thing.”
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’
The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
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.
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.
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.
Fred Toucher: Fred Roggin Rant ‘Is Why Everyone Thinks Radio Sucks’
“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said.
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.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett News Media. He also works for ABC8 News and Newsradio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond, Virginia. His prior experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and iHeartradio Richmond. He can be reached by email at Jordan.E.Bondurant@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.