John Skipper Joins Le Batard & Friends Podcast
In addition to talking about the new company, Skipper and Le Batard started off the podcast by talking about what led to Le Batard being hired at ESPN: The Magazine in 1998.
Earlier this week, former ESPN personality Dan Le Batard and the former president at ESPN, John Skipper, announced the name of their new media company, Meadowlark Media. It will be a company that focuses on sports and storytelling.
To help announce this venture, Le Barard had Skipper as a guest on the Le Batard and Friends podcast. The one hour podcast released this week is the first of multiple parts, but Skipper did reveal the purpose and goal of the venture.
“What we are going to do is create a company that will take great content and make content out of those stories,” he said. “We want to tell stories. We want to have associations, relationships with great, talented storytellers and help them tell those stories across all platforms and mediums and genres. The meadowlark is the songbird of the new dawn and I figured post-Trump, post-COVID, the songbird as the new dawn might be welcome.”
In addition to talking about the new company, Skipper and Le Batard started off the podcast by talking about what led to Le Batard being hired at ESPN: The Magazine in 1998. For Skipper, his goal was always to have a diverse workforce at the magazine.
“The story of me trying to hire you started with the beginning of ESPN: The Magazine. I made the decision that we were going to create a diverse workforce for the magazine,” Skipper told Le Batard. “We were going to create a magazine with a great business plan. I looked at Sports Illustrated and believed that they were not in touch with the times. Sports Illustrated was a weekly gathering of sports fans who got the magazine and read about things that happened the week before, I thought that was a little out of date.
“Well, somebody got me a list of every hispanic sportswriter that has a regular column in the top 50-to-100 newspapers in the country. It was just one person. You. When I traveled and read the Miami Herald, I read many things that you wrote and they were great. I think he can speak to Hispanic sports fans and become a national figure.”
“You brought me in as one of the fire starters because you were trying to change the culture a little bit,” said Le Batard.
During this podcast, Le Batard got into what he felt was one of Skipper’s greatest failures at ESPN. It was a conversation Le Batard said the pair had in North Carolina after Skipper resigned from ESPN.
“I thought your greatest failure at ESPN for all the good work you did is that you couldn’t pour enough of that money back into content to make the content even better than it was. You did change it from it’s not just sports and highlights. You had the spirit of Page 2 in your heart and I wanted to see some great content across the network where at one point they brought in Rush Limbaugh. I believe you would be fascinating on the subject of ESPN was not a political company, all you did was put minorities on the air. The moment you did that, it became a political company because you were giving minorities voices.”
“I never understood why people can’t decouple the idea that diversity and tolerance and accepting people for who they are is political,” Skipper answered. “I don’t think that’s political. I think that’s human values. Why wouldn’t you want to populate your on-air talent with people from all different kinds of experiences? That’s not political. That’s respect for people for who they are.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Dan Le Batard: ‘Does Sports Media Care if Interviews Are Done Well?’
“An exclusive interview with Ja Morant, who hasn’t talked to anybody after his controversy, is going to get eyeballs, so it doesn’t matter how good it actually is.”
Mike Greenberg had praise for Jalen Rose this week. He said that no one but his ESPN colleague could have handled the interview with Ja Morant that has been airing on the network. Dan Le Batard has the exact opposite opinion of what he saw.
“What I saw was soft and didn’t seem to serve anybody except ESPN,” Le Batard said on his Thursday show. “This seems to be a lot of people around the economy of basketball and Ja Morant orchestrating an interview so Ja Morant can move onto the next stage of his branding.”
Whereas Greenberg thought the shared experience of an NBA career made Rose more likely to get answers from Morant, Le Batard said it created a problem. He accused Rose of letting Morant get away with using “talking points” in lieu of answering any actual questions about the string of erratic behavior and disturbing incidents the Memphis Grizzlies star has been involved with.
It wasn’t the only interview that Dan Le Batard pointed to. He noted that Pat McAfee’s interview with Aaron Rodgers may have drawn an audience of nearly half a million, but very little substance was offered.
“Does anybody in the audience, in sports fandom, or even, at this point, in sports media companies, care in a real and legitimate way whether the interview is done well or not?”
He added that the standard has changed for these interviews because the goal has changed. They are no longer about journalism as much as they are about branding, particularly in the case of ESPN’s exclusive interview with Ja Morant.
“An exclusive interview with Ja Morant, who hasn’t talked to anybody after his controversy, is going to get eyeballs, so it doesn’t matter how good it actually is,” Le Batard concluded. “All you need, if you’re the media partner, is please get me the famous guy to sit down.”
Jomboy, Aaron Boone Partner For Weekly Podcast Appearance
“I thought it was a really interesting opportunity, and a cool idea. These guys have been innovators in this business and they’ve built a massive, young following.”
It isn’t unusual for a professional sports team to partner with a local radio station for weekly interviews with team personnel. Even though Jomboy Media is a digital outlet, it didn’t stop the company from inking a deal to have Yankees manager Aaron Boone on one of its signature podcasts.
In a move announced Thursday, Jomboy Media has signed a deal for Boone to appear on its popular Talkin’ Yanks podcast — hosted by founder Jimmy O’Brien and Jake Storiale — once a week throughout the baseball season.
“I thought it was a really interesting opportunity, and a cool idea. These guys have been innovators in this business and they’ve built a massive, young following,” Boone told The New York Post. “I think Jimmy and Jake are both really good guys. And they’re passionate about what they do, and they love the Yankees. And, sometimes they’re a little misguided and it’s my chance to set the record straight every now and then.”
Previously, Boone had a weekly spot on 98.7 ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show, which reportedly paid him six figures.
“It’s going to be really fun and it kind of goes with the changing landscape of media,” O’Brien said. “The fact that two fans can create a show and in five years get to the point where they get to ask questions to the manager of the Yankees and bring whatever insight we can get out of that to our audience — it is pretty wild, a little surreal.”
Sports Media Reacts to Aaron Rodgers Telling Adam Schefter ‘Lose My Number’
“Here are some of the best responses from Schefter’s sports media colleagues to the tweet.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday and revealed that if he gets his way, his time with the Green Bay Packers is done. He intends to play for the New York Jets in 2023.
Rodgers told McAfee that the hang-up lies with Green Bay, which is trying to determine the appropriate compensation for trading for a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Rodgers also revealed that he had an interaction with ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter. Schefter, who was obviously digging as much as he could to get the scoop on what was going on with Rodgers’ future, texted Rodgers trying to confirm the information he had.
“I didn’t respond to Dianna Russini I think her name is,” Rodgers said. “But I would say the same thing that I told Schefty. Lose my number. Nice try.”
Upon hearing Rodgers’ account, Schefter followed up with a screenshot of Rodgers responding exactly how he said, and that sent social media into a whirlwind.
Here are some of the best responses from Schefter’s sports media colleagues to the tweet:
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional 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, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
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