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Dan Le Batard Calls Andrew Marchand Story ‘Ridiculous’

“Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick The Coverage posted the segment of Le Batard discussing the “false” story to YouTube.”

Brandon Contes

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Dan Le Batard

On Monday, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported significant changes could be on the horizon for ESPN Radio. While personalities such as Will Cain and Trey Wingo have previously been mentioned as candidates to leave ESPN Radio, Marchand added Dan Le Batard’s name to that list.

“There is a feeling among many that his program does not mesh with the tastes of Norby Williamson, who is ESPN’s executive vice president and the point person on ESPN Radio’s programming,” Marchand wrote in the story. “Le Batard does more of a variety show rather than strictly sports.”

Naturally, Le Batard’s tendency to stray from sports, combined with the fact that there are no sports right now, led the ESPN Radio host to address Marchand’s report, calling the story “weird” and “false.” Ryan Glasspiegel of Outkick The Coverage posted the segment of Le Batard discussing the “false” story to YouTube.

“Anybody who’s followed us at ESPN knows that I negotiate freedom, not money. I negotiate the ability, as a child of exile, to talk about the things I want to talk about. And so, the idea that there would be a newspaper story, and that any executive would have any issue, would have a problem with me commenting on a newspaper story about us, when I’m in the radio content business, I’m not really going to ignore that one,” Le Batard said.

“When the story is not flattering to us, when ESPN’s fired an employee (Adnan Virk) for talking to the media about stuff, and then you get a weird story in the New York Post during a pandemic talking about whether we’re going to be here any more when we’ve got two-and-a-half years of an expensive contract that makes it kind of ridiculous, the whole story. To not talk about it, it is one of the objections I’ve always had. ESPN doesn’t like to cover itself the way it covers others, but hell if you’re going to do that to me.

“I’m a journalist, they wrote a story about us. I called some people, they said it’s not true, they said it’s false, it’s a false story.”

Le Batard did note his past disagreements with ESPN. “We’ve always fought with parts of the regime at ESPN,” he said of the idea that he should “stick to sports,” rather than have serious discussions about things such as journalism and race. 

As the bearer of a prominent media platform, there have been numerous times Le Batard veered from sports to discuss a topic he feels should be addressed. Last summer, he famously called the behavior of a crowd at a rally for President Trump “un-American.” In the same rant, he called out his own network’s past reaction to its talent talking about political stories saying ESPN hasn’t “had the stomach for that fight” and described ESPN’s policy for discussing politics as requiring “some sort of weak cowardly sports angle that we can run it through.” 

Le Batard avoided suspension for the incident. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro even expressed his support for the outspoken host after multiple meetings. According to an article by Ben Strauss of The Washington Post, Le Batard said that he would “check with the higher-ups” before addressing such stories in the future.

Le Batard signed a four-year deal with ESPN during the summer of 2018, making it unlikely that he would be nearing a departure from the network, but Marchand didn’t report a full parting of the ways for Le Batard and ESPN. The New York Post report acknowledged Le Batard’s contract status when stating he could leave radio.

There’s a difference between leaving ESPN Radio and leaving ESPN. If ESPN Radio does indeed undergo an overhaul in the coming months, Le Batard could be impacted by those changes and still continue to be an important contributor to The Worldwide Leader. 

Sports Radio News

Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo: I Don’t Do As Much Prep As You Think

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris “Mad Dog” Russo would much rather go with the flow for his radio show than try and put everything together ahead of time and hope it comes out well.

Russo was the featured guest on the Golf Digest podcast The Loop, and hosts Christopher Powers, Alex Myers and Steve Hennessey first congratulated Mad Dog on his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame last year. Russo mentioned how he had written a short speech but decided against that after seeing the other inductees run long with their speeches.

Mad Dog was asked about preparing for his SiriusXM sports talk show every day, and he said he really doesn’t put a ton of work into putting a show together.

“On certain days a little more, because on Mondays I do that NFL recap so that takes a little while to put that together at 5 o’clock – probably a couple of hours,” Russo said. “Outside of that not as much as you’d think. I mean obviously I’m gonna follow what’s going on.”

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you,” he added. “This segment do this, this segment do that. Sometimes when you sort of ad lib it, and you figure it out as you’re moving the program into the second hour and the third hour, it’s a better show.”

Mad Dog talked about how he likes that his radio show is the reverse of when he does First Take on ESPN or High Heat on MLB Network. He likes not having a rundown packed to the gills for his radio show.

“The radio is more of a host’s medium,” he said. “So it’s up to me what we’re going to do.”

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Sports Radio News

Stetson Bennett IV Fires Back at Steak Shapiro Over Parade Criticism

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Georgia walloped TCU last week to win their second straight national championship, and the Bulldog community came together toward the end of the week to celebrate with a parade.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV took part in the parade, but 92.9 The Game host Steak Shapiro wasn’t thrilled with how Bennett acted during the celebration.

Shapiro on Tuesday took a shot at Bennett, who appeared to spend some time fiddling with a cell phone during the parade.

Tuesday night, Bennett responded first with a quote tweet.

Bennett followed that up with a longer statement he posted under his quote tweet explaining the situation.

“I appreciate your concern with my image/intentions/loyalties/obligations (as well as your willingness to reach out to me to confirm them),” Bennett wrote. “You obviously thought quite deeply about some motives I might’ve had.”

Bennett said ultimately he was trying to soak up the moment with his teammates, and he was just trying to make sure the celebratory mood was set with the right music on his phone.

“So to finish it off nice and neat: I was controlling the aux and playing bangers so sed and Chris and I could have a blast on our last ride into Sanford,” he said. “That’s pretty much the gist of it.”

Bennett finished with a little dig of his own at Shapiro.

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro,” he said. “But to be fair, I’m not a fan of your work either.”

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Sports Radio News

Ryan Edwards Moves to The Sports Zoo on KOA

“Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.”

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Ryan Edwards is staying with KOA, but his hours are about to change. The Denver sports radio staple is moving off of Broncos Country Tonight to join Alfred Williams and Dave Logan on The Sports Zoo in afternoon drive.

“I am thrilled to join radio and football legends Dave Logan and Alfred Williams on The KOA Sports Zoo,” Edwards said in a press release. “I look forward to bringing a fans’ perspective to the Denver Broncos and all things Denver sports.”

Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.

He joined iHeart Denver in 2017. He was on Orange & Blue 760 before the company replaced the station with a conservative talk format. He moved to KOA in 2019, where he has worked on Broncos Country Tonight with Benjamin Albright.

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