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Nick Kostos Expects More Media Groups To Bet on ‘Wagertainment’

“All sports fans think about these things on a daily basis. Literally, everything the casual sports fan is interested in intersects with something a bettor might bet on.”

Kate Constable

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Photo Credit: BetQL

The sports betting industry is growing at a rapid rate and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. As a result, the demand for quality content continues to grow alongside it.

Networks have made huge investments into their gambling-related programming, incorporating “betcasts” into game broadcasts, creating entire betting-related shows, and expanding gambling conversations into radio lineups across the country.

When it comes to the radio industry, Audacy has been the leader in setting the tone for how to best incorporate betting content into daily radio lineups, recently expanding their BetQL network to seven new cities.

Depending on which states have legalized sports betting, some local stations may have had related content on their airways for a while, but for those who are just starting to introduce gambling programming the challenge is finding a way to appeal to both the causal sports bettor and the advanced sports bettor.

“If we don’t speak to both groups, myself and “You Better You Bet” will have missed a major opportunity, and we aren’t in the business of missing opportunities,” said Nick Kostos, host of “You Better You Bet” which airs weekdays from 3p-7p ET.

Kostos, an industry leader in sports gambling, has coined the term “wagertainment,” which he says speaks to the goal of talking about sports betting in an entertaining and informative way that’s accessible to any type of gambler.

Expanding on the term, Kostos used the example of breaking down a line or player prop – something that an advanced bettor would be interested in –  and pairing it with information that provides game analysts – something that appeals to the average sports fan.

“Futures bets are another good example of this, too, because we answer the question all fans ask themselves — who’s going to win, and can we profit off that thought?” said Kostas. “That’s what betting largely is. Who’s going to win and by how many?

“All sports fans think about these things on a daily basis. Literally, everything the casual sports fan is interested in intersects with something a bettor might bet on.”

While most topics have a natural intersection between bettors and casual fans, there is a lot that traditional radio shows touch on that gambling hosts like Kostos don’t cover.  

“We never want to insult the intelligence of our audience with hot takes,” said Kostos. “We’re not debating legacies or asking manufactured questions that have nothing to do with what’s actually happening during the game. We’re not discussing lame topics like “LeBron or Jordan?” while there are NBA and NHL playoff games to go along with golf, soccer and baseball.”

While putting aside some of the hot take-style content – something that Kostos has loved about betting programming – separates traditional sports talk shows from gambling shows, the way he prepares for a betting show similar to a regular sports talk show.

“When we break down last night’s game, we don’t just do treetop topics, but we analyze specific player performances and how the teams strategized and how that might lead to opportunity in both the next game and the futures market,” said Kostos. “It becomes one big running storyline that’s updated on a daily basis. And we do it in an entertaining way that’s accessible to all. Wagertainment.”

Audacy’s BetQL lineup expanding into several different cities might be foreshadowing for what the future of audio betting content looks like.

“If companies are smart, they’ll add more betting content,” said Kostos.

He also noted that sports-talk in general has gotten way too far away from the actual discussion about sports, using the example of spending days talking about Aaron Rodgers when most all of the information was speculation.

“I believe as sports betting continues to grow, the demand for actual sports talk will once again become insatiable,” said Kostos. “So yes, I do believe companies will get more involved in the space. And I’m thrilled to be working for one, Audacy, that totally gets it in this regard.”

Sports Radio News

Chick Hearn Headlines Radio Hall of Fame Legends Inductees

Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.

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Chick Hearn

The Museum of Broadcast Communications announced today the selection of 10 new Legends inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2022. This distinction honors those in the industry who have contributed greatly to it and have since passed away.

Chick Hearn, the longtime voice of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be amongst those inducted in Chicago next month. Hearn was the voice of the Lakers for 41 years (1961-2002). Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.  

The full list of those to be inducted as part of the Legends class are:

  • MrDoug Banks– Nationally syndicated on-air personality;
  • MrJames Brown– Legendary singer, to be inducted as a radio station owner of WJBE Knoxville, TN;
  • MrBob Coburn– Host of the syndicated Rockline show;
  • Mr. Chick Hearn– Play-by-play announcer/voice of the Los Angeles Lakers;
  • MsBernice Judis– Owner and General Manager, WNEW-AM, 1930’s–1950’s;
  • MrSid Mark– Host of syndicated program, Sounds of Sinatra show for 60+ years;
  • Mr. Bobby O’Jay– On-air personality, WDIA-AM/Memphis;
  • MrPervis Spann– On-air personality, WVON-AM/Chicago;
  • Mr. James Thompson– Group W Broadcasting President and President of the Broadcasters Foundation;
  • Ms. Rosalie Trombley– Music Director of CKLW-AM/Detroit in the 1960’s–1970’s.

“The Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the individuals who have made the greatest impact on our 100+ year old industry,” Kraig T. Kitchin, Co-Chairman, Radio Hall of Fame said. “I’m thrilled to see the Nominating Committee confirm the induction of these 10 individuals who each made such an impact on our industry in their time.”    

The Radio Hall of Fame will recognize its 2022 class of inductees, including the class announced in July, during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 1st.

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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.”

Jordan Bondurant

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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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