Colin Cowherd is one of the rare top-tier media talents that has worked at both FOX and ESPN for extended periods. The Fox Sports Radio host opened up last week about his career and thoughts on the media landscape in an interview with Ethan Sherwood Strauss on the House of Strauss Substack.
The two covered everything from how Cowherd deals with critics to the differences between his two most recent network stops.
“I didn’t feel like I was in trouble a lot at ESPN,” Cowherd said about the power dynamics at the Disney-owned network. “ESPN is run by Disney and you could always feel the safety net of Disney hovering over ESPN. You could always feel Disney’s presence. Whether it was with budgets, topics, they avoided anything controversial. You were often encouraged to avoid a topic because they had their tentacles on everything.”
The different ownership structures are clear, and Cowherd appreciates the ability to take risks.
“They had so many leagues, so many commissioners,” Cowherd continued. “FOX is owned by a very entrepreneurial Australian family, the Murdochs. They have been in the crosshairs of criticism from day one on this soil. FOX News, Wall Street Journal, New York Post. They are entrepreneurial, they are naturally, innately, risk-takers.”
Cowherd sees a clear difference in how the two sides view social media—and the criticism it can spark.
“When I was at ESPN, that company was, there were times I thought it was run by social media,” Cowherd explained. “It was very reactionary to various media critics. I don’t even know if our bosses know half the media critics. Getting back to your question, I think there was just a different sensibility at ESPN. I was considered more of a loose cannon there, but at FOX, I’m just viewed as an employee.”
Cowherd is one of the industry’s leading opinionists, and he feels right at home in a place like FOX.
“At ESPN, SportsCenter was largely seen as a sports page, a bastion of journalism. The opinionists there were like ‘Ohhh, that’s a different part of the hospital, we don’t go down to that wing very often.’ Whereas at FOX, the entire brand now—we got out of the movie business—is opinion. ESPN.com is this journalistic enterprise. FOX is digital; FOX is opinion; FOX is sports; FOX is games; FOX is Super Bowls, World Series, the World Cup. I just think they are different companies, and I feel at FOX I can just let it rip. But at ESPN, I just always felt you could just feel the pressure of Disney on top of the company.”
Check out the full interview on House of Strauss here.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Brent Dougherty Signs New Deal At 104.5 The Zone
“I am so excited to have the opportunity to commit long term, again, to continue to help make 104.5 The Zone the best radio station in the country.”
Things are going very well for 104.5 The Zone. The Cumulus station is coming off of a strong Fall ratings book, and now it has secured the future of its signature show Brent Dougherty has a new deal that will keep the 3HL host on the station for the foreseeable future.
“I am blessed to be able to work with the most talented people in radio, both on and off the air,” Dougherty told BSM. “I am so excited to have the opportunity to commit long term, again, to continue to help make 104.5 The Zone the best radio station in the country.”
Brent Dougherty has been part of The Zone since 2008. He was well-known to Nashville sports fans long before that, having previously served as the Sports Director at 1510 WLAC.
Dougherty announced his new deal last week on Twitter. On Monday, he told Barrett Sports Media that re-signing was a no-brainer, given his teammates.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to work with Dawn Davenport, Ron Slay, and Joe Hunk on a day-to-day basis. We know that there is always room to grow. We’ve worked hard to get where we are and will continue to do that every day. Win every day – always and always.”
While all of the teams currently in Nashville were already there when 3HL launched in 2010, Dougherty knows the landscape is so much different now with a population boom and the changing options for sports media. He says that he is optimistic that both the show and 104.5 The Zone will play a prominent role in shaping sports fans’ conversations in Middle Tennessee for years to come.
“We as a radio station have tried to grow with Nashville hand-in-hand. 104.5 The Zone is the voice of Nashville sports. It was that way when I came to work at this radio station in 2008. We are blessed to have such loyal and passionate listeners and are so thankful for their participation and their desire to take ownership over what we do.”
David Schultz Out At 105.5 WNSP
“I had a blast covering the Jaguars, Tide & Tigers, Saints, and high school sports and then sharing my opinions.”
WNSP is looking for a new afternoon show. A source tells Barrett Sports Media that David Schultz has been let go.
Schultz served as the Program Director as well as the host of The Game Plan in afternoon drive. Michael Brauner has been his co-host since last April.
David Schultz came to Mobile in August of 2019, replacing Creg Stephenson and Randy Kennedy, who is now heard on crosstown rival Sports Talk 99.5. Before coming to Alabama, Schultz hosted mornings on 103.7 The Game in Lafayette, Louisiana. He is also a former contributor to WQAM in Miami.
“To the listeners of WNSP, it has been my honor and pleasure driving you home from work since August of 2019,” he wrote on Twitter. “I had a blast covering the Jaguars, Tide & Tigers, Saints, and high school sports and then sharing my opinions. I appreciated your patience as it took this ‘yankee’ a bit to get used to his surroundings. Thank you very much for bringing me into your homes, cars, and phones.”
The station’s permanent afternoon plans are far from solidified. BSM has learned that Mark Heim — who currently hosts The Opening Kickoff on the station — will cover the shift in the interim.
Audacy, New York Mets Announce Addition of Keith Raad, Pat McCarthy
“The Mets are excited to have Keith and Pat join WCBS 880 as part of the Mets broadcast.”
Raad joins the crew after spending last season announcing games for the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. He has also been the voice of Wagner University football and women’s basketball since 2017.
McCarthy — the son of Philadelphia Phillies television voice Tom McCarthy — has served as the voice of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the AAA-affiliate of the Phillies. He has filled in on Phillies broadcasts during the past two seasons, in addition to working as a football, and men’s/women’s basketball announcer for Princeton and St. Joseph’s Universities.
“The Mets are excited to have Keith and Pat join WCBS 880 as part of the Mets broadcast,” said Andy Goldberg, Executive Vice President, and Chief Marketing Officer, New York Mets. “Having Keith called up from Brooklyn, and being a local New Yorker to keep it in the family is what the Mets are all about.”
Raad will serve as the play-by-play and color commentator on the club’s broadcasts, while McCarthy will host the pregame and postgame shows, and step into the play-by-play role held by Howie Rose during select broadcasts.
“As we round the bases towards Spring Training, we’re proud to officially welcome Keith Raad and Pat McCarthy to our popular coverage of Mets baseball alongside Mets Hall of Famer Howie Rose,” said Chris Oliviero, Market President, Audacy New York. “Once again, the Mets offseason has created anticipation and optimism for the 2023 Amazins’ and we’re looking forward to being the audio home for every moment on-air and digitally.”