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Don Martin: Pandemic Brought The Best Out Of Petros & Money

“While other fish were out there flipping and flopping not knowing what to do for content, the two of you shone like a north star in our business.”

Derek Futterman

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It was incontrovertibly an unparalleled four-and-a-half months devoid of live sporting events at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one that left sports fans fervently searching for something new to follow on a day-to-day basis. Sports networks, including ESPN, had to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to reconstruct their programming to continue bringing in ratings and revenue. Most notably for “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” the 10-part documentary chronicling Michael Jordan’s career and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, “The Last Dance,” was moved up from June to April, and, partly due to the abeyance of new content, was the number one program in television since mid-March. Additionally, it averaged approximately 5.6 million viewers per episode, making it the most watched ESPN documentary of all time.

Aside from the odyssey sports fans found refuge in the early stages of the pandemic, they also sojourned in international and niche sports, such as the Korean Baseball League and Formula One Racing. Many networks also showed replays of iconic contests from over the years in baseball, basketball and hockey, engendering a nostalgic catharsis on a mission to make satiable the unquenchable thirst sports fans had.

Tuesday afternoon, The Petros and Money Show on AM 570 LA Sports in Los Angeles harkened back to these uncertain, melancholic times, and how their show, centered on sports talk, was able to withstand these hardships and have a successful stretch on the air in their segment, “Top Story of the Day.”

“Today’s top story is reminiscent of something that we did at the beginning of that stretch of what our boss Don Martin called ‘Maybe the best two months of The Petros and Money Show I have ever had the great honor of listening to,’” divulged Matt “Money” Smith, co-host of the afternoon program and current play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers on KFI AM 640. Speaking from the perspective of the Senior Vice President of Premier Radio Network, Fox Sports Radio, and LA iHeartMedia Don Martin, Smith continued: “While other fish were out there flipping and flopping not knowing what to do for content, the two of you shone like a north star in our business.”

Indeed, AM 570 LA Sports ratings’ improved in June 2020, with the station gaining a tenth-of-a-point in Nielsen PPM numbers in a time where live sports had come to a halt. Utilizing the aspects of showmanship and entertainment embedded within the nascent being of sports radio, The Petros and Money Show finished ninth in the 2020 Barrett Sports Media list of Top 20 Major Market sports radio afternoon shows presented by Steve Stone Voiceovers.

“We asked the question — as baseball and basketball and hockey was all shut down [sic] — would you watch NASCAR?; Would you watch the truck series?; Would you watch golf?,” said Smith. “Would you watch these sports that you were never interested in your sporting fandom life before because it was the only thing that was on?”

Fast-forward to October 26, 2021 — Matt “Money” Smith began to ponder over that same question the sports world answered for itself last year in his monologue, contextualizing it in the terms of the current state of sports in Los Angeles.

“I’m trying to figure out if the Dodgers, who were overwhelming favorites to win the World Series at the start of the year, [have caused too much emotional distress for] Los Angeles sporting fans… to immediately shift their sporting focus to what is now available,” said Smith. “Will they support the 1-4-1 Kings? Will they support the old-ass Lakers, who seemingly lose a player a day? Will they get into NFL football; the Rams are 6-1, a game back [of] the best record in the NFC; the Chargers are 4-2, a game back [of] the best record in the AFC.”

In a city full of sports and entertainment stars, such as LeBron James, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Kawhi Leonard, Aaron Donald, Anthony Davis, Drew Doughty and an innumerable amount of others, everyone has begun to wonder who is satisfying the craving for live sports in Los Angeles. As a play-by-play announcer and radio broadcaster, Smith knows that those in his field can become quite emotionally invested in the teams they cover, much like a fan, to try to propagate the conversation, and ultimately the focus of Los Angeles sports fans, to their specific team.

“We get excited about our assignments — we get involved,” explained Smith. “We want you to watch; we want you to be entertained; we hope we’re a part of a product that you find to be to your liking.”

Smith’s fascination with the inherent fandom of those who cover the team, such as LA Clippers studio host and co-host of “UCLA Health Zone” Adam Auslund, whose Twitter feed during games contains many creative pseudonyms for Clippers players, including forward Isaiah Hartenstein and guard Luke Kennard.

“I envision him with a number two pencil and a yellow legal pad,” divulged Smith, “and he has each player’s name and [is] working through these nicknames he’s going to put out in the Twitterverse.”

Long story short — having live sports back as a constant in everyday life has stimulated new modes of thought for broadcasters, fans, reporters and others about which sports they consume and how much they support each team. On a “Tu Hermano Tuesday,” Matt “Money” Smith, in conversation with co-host Petros Papadakis, assuredly renewed a conversation that will endure for many months and years to come as the sports media world enters a “new normal” in all aspects of the industry.

Sports Radio News

Stan Norfleet To Replace N.D. Kalu On SportsTalk 790 in Houston

“My affinity for Space City spans nearly two decades and I look forward to connecting with old friends and new listeners in the market.”

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Change is afoot at SportsTalk 790 in Houston. Chris Gordy will have a new co-host in middays as N.D. Kalu exits and Stan Norfleet comes aboard for Next Up.

Kalu, a former Houston Texans defensive end, has decided to leave radio behind. Instead, he will focus on his real estate business.

“N.D. is a tremendous talent and one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. He will be missed,” said iHeartMedia Houston’s head of AM programming, Bryan Erickson.

Stan Norfleet comes to Houston after most recently being on WFNZ in Charlotte. He is no stranger to Texas, though. He finished his college football career at Texas Southern University. He also worked in the sales departments for both the Rockets and the Texans.

“It is a tremendous blessing and honor to join the renowned iHeartMedia Houston family. I have long been a fan and avid listener of Sportstalk 790 and respect the history and contributions of its personalities,” Stan Norfleet said in a press release. “My affinity for Space City spans nearly two decades and I look forward to connecting with old friends and new listeners in the market.”

In addition to his time on air in Charlotte, Norfleet has also been heard on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta and seen on Raycom’s regionally syndicated ACC Network. He is also a former columnist at BSM.

“Stan brings amazing passion to everything he does,” said Erickson. “He has strong local ties and we’re thrilled to add him to the team.”

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Sports Radio News

Mark Sanchez Jokes ‘Tom Brady Is Going To Ruin My Career For a 2nd Time’

“I get drafted to the guy’s division. Now he’s gotta come to FOX and ruin everything here. I can’t get away from the guy.”

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Photo: Getty Images

Now that Tom Brady is done on the field, it is only a matter of time before he makes his way to the broadcast booth. Before the 2022 season began, FOX announced that Brady had signed a ten-year deal with the network that will put him in the top NFL play-by-play booth and make him a brand ambassador.

That has created speculation and uncertainty for Greg Olsen, the current analyst on FOX’s top NFL crew, but it won’t stop there. The effects will almost certainly trickle down. Mark Sanchez was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday and joked that he knows his place is a little less certain now than it was last week.

“I guess thanks for ruining the trajectory of my career for the second time, Tom,” Sanchez said with a smile. “I get drafted to the guy’s division. Now he’s gotta come to FOX and ruin everything here. I can’t get away from the guy.”

Mark Sanchez led the New York Jets to two AFC Championship Games during Tom Brady’s Super Bowl drought. He was also a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, and the then-Washington Redskins during his ten-year NFL career.

He began his broadcasting career in 2019. He was first with ABC and ESPN as a studio analyst for college football. Before the 2021 NFL season, he moved to FOX, where he joined Kevin Kugler in the broadcast booth.

With a few years and plenty of reps under his belt, Mark Sanchez is a broadcast veteran. He joked that that will give him some clout over Tom Brady when the GOAT makes his FOX debut.

“Hopefully he doesn’t get too annoyed with the hazing we put them through as rookies here at FOX. Hopefully, it doesn’t get too annoying for him.”

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Sports Radio News

Adam Jones: ‘I Hold No Animosity Towards 98.5 The Sports Hub’

“I think we did a good thing at night for 10 years, but nights are nights, and I honestly was ready for something different.”

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Adam Jones left one Boston sports talker for another. Earlier this month, he left his nighttime show on 98.5 The Sports Hub to join Meghan Ottolini and Christian Arcand in afternoon drive on WEEI.

In an interview with Alex Reimer of WEEI, Jones made it clear that there was no bitterness towards his old station. It was just time for a lifestyle change.

“I had done 10 years at night,” he said. “My kid is going to be going to school next year. It’s a good life-work balance, which I know a lot of people probably overuse, but it will be a good life-work balance to be home at night for the first time in 10 years and be able to do dinners at home. And it’s a new challenge. I would like to be in a more prominent day part, and try to carve out a niche there, and try to be successful there. I think we did a good thing at night for 10 years, but nights are nights, and I honestly was ready for something different.”

Jones says he knew that if he wanted to make a move, it likely wasn’t going to happen on 98.5. The station’s daytime lineup has a very successful track record and management likely isn’t eager to do anything to jeopardize that.

“I hold no animosity towards 98.5…I think people wonder that and ask that. I get why you’re not gonna get rid of Fred, or Rich, or Wallach, or Beetle, or Zo, or Hardy, or Felger and Mazz and Big Jim. There are limited opportunities.”

Now, Adam Jones is focused on making things work with Mego and Arcand. He told Reimer that there is plenty to consider and that he and Mego are trying to find their goto hot buttons.

He said they are not trying to manufacture debates. They just want to make sure the show is entertaining and doesn’t bore listeners.

“I guess there’s a journalistic aspect to this job,” Adam Jones said. “I’m not a journalist, I’ve never pretended to be a journalist. I didn’t go to school for journalism. It’s not my job. My job is to be entertaining. People might disagree, and that’s fine.”

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