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DiPietro, Canty & Rothenberg Happy To Compete With WFAN

Chris Canty, Rick DiPietro and Dave Rothenberg can be heard on ESPN New York from 5 to 8 a.m. with their first hour going up against WFAN’s “Warm Up Show” with Al Dukes and Jerry Recco, then two against Esiason and Giannotti.

Kate Constable

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For the first time in 20 years, ESPN is doing local morning sports talk in New York, bringing competition to WFAN who has controlled the city’s airwaves for more than two decades with Don Imus, Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton and Gregg Giannotti.

Chris Canty, Rick DiPietro and Dave Rothenberg can be heard on ESPN New York from 5 to 8 a.m. with their first hour going up against WFAN’s Warm Up Show with Al Dukes and Jerry Recco, then two more hours against Esiason and Giannotti.

For the ESPN personalities, the challenge of going up against the New York powerhouse is one they welcome, according to an interview with Newsday.

“I love the challenge,” Rothenberg, who grew up in Roslyn, told the paper. “I love the opportunity. I grew up listening to WFAN, and I never thought there would be another station in New York that would compete. I feel like there’s not only a station in New York that competes, but there’s a station in New York that’s right there with them.”

“We love the challenge, obviously,” DiPietro said, “but I think our main focus now is just making sure as a group we do the best possible radio show that we’re capable of doing.”

Newsday notes that at 8 a.m., ESPN New York reverts to national programming until 3 p.m., while Esiason and Giannotti go until 10 a.m., providing a juicy enough local radio story for those first two hours.

The addition of ESPN’s morning show took effect on Jan. 5 after Dan Le Batard left ESPN. As a result, Rothenberg’s crew moved up from their old 9 to 11 a.m. spot.

“We’re the first word in New York sports,” Rothenberg said. “A big event happens the night before, 5 o’clock the next morning, that’s us. These guys are the athletes and they’ve grown up in competitive sports. But I love the fact that we get the challenge of going up against a proven morning show and we get to prove ourselves.”

It takes quite a while for radio ratings to be reported, so it will be some time before a full picture of the new-look early morning race in New York takes shape, but there’s no doubt that people who follow such matters are awaiting the morning data with great anticipation.

Sports Radio News

Barstool’s Big Cat Recalls Awkward Moment of Aaron Rodgers Interview

“If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s to reroute a conversation when a guest is like, ‘Oooh, I don’t like you guys.'”

Jordan Bondurant

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Big Cat, Aaron Rodgers

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently appeared on the Barstool Sports podcast, Pardon My Take, and the interview seemed to go well.

Podcast co-host, Dan “Big Cat” Katz, who is a die-hard Bears fan and well-documented Aaron Rodgers hater, relished in the fact that Rodgers agreed to take trash talk from him.

But there was one moment where things almost derailed.

Big Cat, in his weekly appearance on ESPN Chicago with Tom Waddle and Marc “Silvy” Silverman, talked about asking Rodgers how many grandmothers he had killed (A reference to Rodgers not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and his beliefs on vaccine mandates).

“That was a good lesson that PFT and I sometimes have to learn,” Big Cat said, before saying he saved the interview by finding a way out of the subject. “If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s to reroute a conversation when a guest is like, ‘Oooh, I don’t like you guys.'”

Katz said it was a moment where they had to pause and understand what they were actually asking and insinuating with Rodgers.

“That was one of those ones we really don’t live in the real world, so when we go out into the real world and we say something that we’ve been joking about within the confines of our studio on ears that haven’t heard those jokes before, it’s kind of like, ‘Wait what did you guys just say? Are you really joking about grandmothers that died from COVID?'” he said. “And then when you get it repeated back to you, you’re kind of like, ‘Oh, yeah that is kind of messed up. Right, good point.”

Katz mentioned Rodgers went with the whole bit for the interview the entire time. So while there was a brief second where things could’ve gone south, everyone just let it go.

“Score one for Aaron, but he was smiling,” Big Cat said. “It was all in good fun.”

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Fescoe in the Morning: ESPN Has a History of Ignoring Non-Partner Leagues

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

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Fescoe in the Morning

ESPN is out of the running for the Big Ten football and basketball media rights. Those will be awarded to a combination of other networks and likely a streaming service. ESPN appears to be focusing on NCAA Championships next.

Josh Klingler, co-host of Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, took time on their show on Tuesday to break down what that might mean for the Big Ten in terms of coverage.

“You’re (Big Ten) going to network television, which is better; more eyeballs and what have you,” noted Klingler. “But also, let’s not forget ESPN has a history of ignoring you when you’re not on their air. That’s the risk they are going to run.”

Klingler would add, “They are going to take the money. They are going to get network viewers, which is good. I guess the highlight and the hype and all those things that we are accustomed to doing that ESPN provides. We’ve already seen they ignore you if you’re not on their network.”

Bob Fescoe chimed in a reminder about another prominent league that chose not to partner with ESPN.

“Ask the National Hockey League what happened when they took the money from NBC and ran,” said Fescoe.

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

“Right, but I think they are willing to do that for a billion dollars per year,” Fescoe responded.

Fescoe then said that the Big Ten might make up for the perceived shortcomings of not being on ESPN by being on network television.

“If you’re going to be on network TV in all three windows, Josh, quite honestly all your marquee games are going to be free,” said Fescoe.

“That’s exposure,” said Klingler.

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Sports Radio News

NESN’s Dave O’Brien Says National Networks “Blew It” By Not Hiring Dennis Eckersley

“I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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Dennis Eckersley

On Monday, Dennis Eckersley decided to make it known that this season would be his last with NESN in the booth. He mentioned that after 50 years in baseball, it was time to go be with the grandchildren in San Diego.

His broadcast partner for a lot of those years in the NESN booth was Dave O’Brien. On the latest Sports Media Mayhem podcast, O’Brien joined show host Alex Reimer to talk about the retirement of Eckersley. Reimer pointed out that it took awhile before Eckersley became the main color analyst for the team. O’Brien remembered the time well.

“When he started, he was pre- and post- and he did that most of his career at NESN,” said O’Brien. “It was really, only the last six or seven years that he really started to get on as a game analyst.”

O’Brien was named the lead play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Red Sox coverage in 2016 which is about the same time Eckersley slid into the role of game analyst. In the time since, O’Brien has seen the work of Eckersley up close and is floored that he was working for a regional sports network and not somewhere more nationally prominent.

“I think the national people totally blew it on Dennis Eckersley,” blurted O’Brien. “And that includes Turner. They had an opportunity, I can say that because a lot of those people there now didn’t make the decision. He should have been the lead analyst doing national games. He should have been on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball or FOX. I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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