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Ryen Russillo: ESPN Radio Didn’t Want Me With Scott Van Pelt

“They wanted it to be Stephen A, maybe Herbstreit.”

Ricky Keeler

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From his experience hosting both national radio at ESPN or local radio in the New England area, Ryen Russillo is one of those hosts who knows the ins and outs of the sports format. Now, he is hosting The Ryen Russillo Podcast on The Ringer.

On the latest edition of The Press Box podcast with Bryan Curtis on The Ringer, Russillo spent over an hour going over the many different aspects of radio. It is an entertaining listen for those who want the “inside baseball” of the industry and want to know more about Russillo. 

In fact, before SVP & Russillo began in 2009, Russillo said that he wasn’t the first choice to be Scott Van Pelt’s co-host on ESPN Radio.

“Scott and I joined up, they didn’t want me to be Scott’s co-host. The only person who wanted me to be his co-host was Scott. They wanted it to be Stephen A, maybe Herbstreit. It was always somebody who had a million things going on and I had nothing else going on.” 

When Russillo started in local radio, he thought he was not very good at interviewing because he thought was more interested in displaying how much knowledge he had about a subject.

During his time at ESPN, Ryen Russillo realized that one of the things he was really good at was having the right instincts on which topics made the show. He said that helped him always be ready to go about anything

“Figuring out how to weave a result into a discussion is a very important part of doing talk radio every single day. You’re doing 15-20 hours a week. You better figure out the right way to do it. Playing the hits is a very simple thing to say, but I would like to play the hits, but find a different way to attack the hits than other hosts did.”

“I like my ideas. I always have felt when I walked into ESPN every morning, I knew I was ready to go and I am proud of that. That’s a hard job.”

Plenty of people have been critical of ESPN Radio in recent months. Rusillo is no different. surprisingly, he is not down on the recent turnover in the lineup. Ryen Rusillo is more put off by how much the network seems to be relying on phone calls these days. It just isn’t something he would have done during his time on a national network.

“I feel like the radio lineup for ESPN specifically at least the last couple of years, it’s a national lineup that seems to have a lot of local influences and that surprises me a little. To have it be a major part of your show on a national level, I would just be like ‘do you realize how many people are listening to this call that’s always a selfish call?’. The call’s always about what that caller’s interests are and it’s as sophomoric as ‘Do you think my Cowboys can win?’. I’m surprised that it’s used as much nationally.” 

When Curtis asked him if he felt national radio was harder than local radio, Russillo admitted that it was, but it also came with a level of satisfaction that suited the type of fan he is.

“I always had to know a little about a lot of things, where in local I had to know everything, but only about one thing. The math is easier on the local side of things. I know I’m a prep freak, so doing the national side, the amount of shit that I would do is an excessive amount of stuff.”

Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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Boomer Esiason: Michael Kay ‘Swooping In’ On Stephen Nelson ‘Just Not Right’

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

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Boomer Esiason

Much has been made about the potential of New York Yankees television play-by-play announcer Michael Kay announcing Friday Night Baseball on AppleTV+ while slugger Aaron Judge chases the franchise and American League record for home runs in a single season. During Boomer & Gio Friday morning, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti disagreed on whether Kay should have taken the gig from usual AppleTV+ announcer Stephen Nelson.

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

“I bet he put that out there to see what the reaction would be,” Giannotti said of Kay’s comments that he would be “big-footing” Nelson by taking the assignment. “And the reaction was like that, and was like ‘You know, I’m kinda uncomfortable doing this. Maybe I shouldn’t do it’. And no one wanted to see it anyway.”

“They shouldn’t do it,” said Esiason of AppleTV+ allowing Kay to step in for Nelson.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, and let’s say it was Pete Alonso chasing this record and there was AppleTV for potentially 61 or 62, you’re telling me that you’d want a fella named (Stephen) Nelson over Gary Cohen? There’s no way in hell!”, Giannotti countered.

“I want what’s right,” Esiason said.

“AppleTV’s not right to begin with,” Giannotti replied.

“But Michael Kay swooping in on some kid named Nelson, that’s not right. That’s just not right. You just can’t do that!”, argued Esiason.

“Yeah, but the fact that it’s on AppleTV to begin with is annoying,” Giannotti concluded. “It’s just annoying.”

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: AppleTV+ Shouldn’t Have Answered The Phone For YES Network Trade

“This is when I get to bring new people and new eyeballs to my streaming service. And I’m sure they’ll have more signups than they’ve had almost any other day of the week.”

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Craig Carton

A report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post claimed YES Network, owned in-part by the New York Yankees, made several offers to AppleTV+ in regards to its scheduled broadcast of the Yankees and Boston Red Sox as Aaron Judge chases the franchise and American League record for home runs in a single season. WFAN host Craig Carton was dumbfounded by the proposals.

Carton originally blamed the Yankees greed for the game airing on AppleTV+, before co-host Evan Roberts set him straight.

“Because the New York Yankees sold their rights to everybody with a blank check in front of them, they are now faced with the reality that their greed is gonna result in a momentous, historical moment not being broadcast by their broadcast team,” Carton said.

“If you wanna blame every owner, and say ‘Hey, you all signed off on it’, I understand where you’re coming from on this. But Major League Baseball made the decision to cut a deal with AppleTV+,” Roberts countered.

Carton then pointed out how preposterous the idea was for YES Network to either air the game in conjunction with AppleTV+, or for Yankees television play-by-play announcer — and New York afternoon radio competitor — Michael Kay to call the game for the streaming platform.

“Memo to YES, and the New York Yankees, who own a piece of the YES Network: If I’m AppleTV+ — and whatever that check was that I wrote, it was big — this is the moment for me,” Carton said. “This is when I get to bring new people and new eyeballs to my streaming service. And I’m sure they’ll have more signups than they’ve had almost any other day of the week. If you’re AppleTV+, why would you even answer the phone if the YES Network calls?”

“Sometimes a guy calls you in Fantasy sports and says ‘I want your best player’, and you don’t even make a counter offer because you’re like ‘There’s literally nothing on your roster that would make me agree to this trade’,” Roberts hypothesized. “If I’m AppleTV+ — let’s play the negotiation game — is there anything that could be offered to you that would make you give up the exclusivity?”

“No! That’s what you paid for!”, Carton exclaimed. “Great luck! It worked out where you’re most likely gonna have a game on AppleTV+ where something historical is might happen!”

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