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Danny Kannell, Ryen Russillo Reminisce On ESPN Layoffs

“When Kanell looked back at why he might have been laid off by ESPN, he thought back to two specific instances.”

Ricky Keeler

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We are less than five years removed from the massive layoffs that claimed the jobs of people on camera and behind the scenes at ESPN. One of those people was college football analyst and co-host of Russillo and Kanell, Danny Kanell. 

Kanell was on The Ryen Russillo Podcast this week to talk not only about college football, but to look back at that time where both Russillo and Kanell felt uncertain about their positions at the company.

“I had talked to my agent and he was like you are good to go. College football is one of the biggest priorities of the company, you are one of the bigger voices, you’re good,” Kanell said. “Couple weeks would go by and you kind get a little more nervous. A lot of people were holding meetings trying to make sure they are in good standing and I would go play golf on the off-day…Then comes the day. No one knew when the day was going to be. It was like a Black Friday without knowing there was a Black Friday.

“I get a phone call and it was the number from ESPN. I didn’t answer the first time and then it calls back and then it was a call from one of our higher-ups in radio who said hey, can you come in? It was eerily similar to can you bring your playbook conversation. I didn’t ask on the phone, I said sure…When the time I hang up the phone, I call my agent and I’m like what is happening? He’s like I don’t know. I go in and they got the two higher-ups there because they want the witness, make sure nothing happens and it’s thank you for your time.”

Russillo had a meeting with John Skipper at the time to want to talk about where he stood with the company, but while Russillo wanted to talk, Skipper just wanted to vent on something that was bothering him, according to Russillo.

“I had gone in to meet with Skipper. We usually got together every 6 months and he was good to me in that way. I was like hey, this isn’t working out for me in radio. I know what’s going to happen. All the signs point to this. They don’t like the show with Danny and I. I don’t want to leave. I think there’s going to be value for me somewhere else. That was the whole plan.

“The meeting with Skipper was Tuesday. The Monday, there was a leak that all of these people on air were going to let go. We spent the entire meeting, I listened to him complain about leaks and I was like okay, we didn’t get anywhere. Selfishly, I needed some Ryen time. I was just kind of being his therapist for an hour while he was like I can’t believe these leaks, Ryen.”

When Kanell looked back at why he might have been laid off by ESPN, he thought back to two specific instances.

“Possibly because the person who I upset the most was asking me to be suspended for a tweet because I was trolling the SEC. It did tick off somebody and even though I apologized, I don’t know if that person ever got over it. That person since that time rose up the ranks where they were really powerful and had some influence whether or not I was there.” 

“The other thing I don’t know if it helped, even though it was a joke, was wearing the ‘make radio great again’ hat just because it was red and it appeared like a MAGA hat even though it wasn’t. I’m sure there were people that might have walked by a TV and double-take. One of those two things probably put the final nail in the coffin.” 

Russillo and Kanell were able to talk about that awkward moment and they took the listener inside what happened during one of the crazier times at ESPN as their show was coming to an end. 

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Doug Gottlieb Details Interviewing For College Basketball Head Coaching Vacancy

“I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up.”

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Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb recently interviewed for the vacant head coaching job at Wisconsin-Green Bay and detailed the experience on his podcast.

“I got a chance to talk to (Wisconsin-Green Bay AD) Josh Moon several times during the year after they had made their coaching job available and my approach to how I’ve done these things — and this is not the first time I’ve gone down this path, but this was a different path,” Gottlieb said on his All Ball podcast.

“This is a low-major, mid-major job, and there’s no connection there. I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up. I love doing it and I think there’s a very smart world where if I’m coaching I can still do this podcast and still do it with basketball people all over the country and the world, and it’s kind of like a cheat code.”

He continued by saying that seeing Shaka Smart be successful at Marquette has motivated him to continue to search for the right fit as a college basketball coach.

“That’s what I want to do. And last year when I was coaching in Israel, that also continued to invigorate me…this is something that I would really like to do. It has to be the right thing. It has to be the right AD who hits the right message.”

He continued by saying that a sticking point of negotiations was he wasn’t willing to give up his nationally syndicated radio program for the job. He was willing to take less money for his assistants pool, but also to continue doing his radio show.

Gottlieb did not get the position with the Phoenix, noting that he was a finalist but was never offered the job. The position ultimately went to Wyoming assistant coach Sundance Wicks. Wicks had previous head coaching experience and had worked with Green Bay athletic director Josh Moon at Division II Northern State. He admitted he wasn’t necessarily “all-in” on the job due to the current ages of his children and whether the timing was right to uproot his family to move to Northeastern Wisconsin.

The Fox Sports Radio host does have coaching experience. He has worked as a coach for the U.S. men’s basketball team at the Maccabiah Games, sometimes referred to as the Jewish Olympics.

Gottlieb’s father — Bob — was the head men’s basketball coach at Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 1975-1980, compiling a 97-91 record.

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Waddle & Silvy: Scott Hanson Told Us to Lose His Number

“We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”

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Aaron Rodgers took immense pride in the fact that he told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter to “lose his number” while discussing his future earlier this week on The Pat McAfee Show. ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy said they’ve experienced similar treatment from guests on their radio show.

While discussing the Rodgers interview with McAfee, the pair admitted that NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson once told their producer to stop trying to book him for interviews on the program.

“I believe the presentation was ‘Do me a favor: lose my number after this interview’,” Tom Waddle said. “So he tried to do it politely. Scott Hanson did. Get out of here. That concept is foreign to me. How about ‘Hey, next time you text me, my schedule is full. I can’t do it, but thanks for thinking of me’. ‘Lose my number?’ You ain’t the President, for Christ’s sake. I’m saying that to anyone who would say that. ‘Lose my number?’ We’re all in the communication business. I just don’t know — why be rude like that to people? What does that accomplish? You know what it accomplished? We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”

Co-host Mark Silverman then mentioned that the show once tried to book Hansen and NFL Red Zone host Andrew Siciliano together in the same block, with the idea of doing a trivia game to see who the supreme Red Zone host was. Siciliano agreed, but Hansen declined.

The pair also confirmed that an NFL Network personality had told them to lose their number, but couldn’t remember if it was Rich Eisen or not.

Silverman later joked that maybe Hanson was getting a new phone with a new number, and was politely sharing with the producer that he could lose the current phone number because he would share his new number in short order.

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Seth Payne: Aaron Rodgers ‘Makes Gross Inaccuracies’ When Calling Out Media

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations.”

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Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is always mad at the media for the inaccurate things he says they report, but according to Sports Radio 610 morning man Seth Payne, no one is more inaccurate than the quarterback himself.

Friday morning, Payne and his partner Sean Pendergast played audio of Aaron Rodgers responding to a question about a list of players he provided to the Jets demanding they sign. Rodgers called the idea that he would make demands “so stupid” and chastised ESPN reporter Dianna Russini, who was the first to report it.

“Now to be clear, Dianna Russini didn’t say demands in her tweet. She said wishlist,” Pendergast clarified.

They also played a clip of Russini responding to Rodgers on NFL Live saying that she stands by her reporting and it is her job to reach out to confirm that it is true.

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations,” Seth Payne said.

He added that if Rodgers is being serious, he is doing some serious nitpicking. He claims that he didn’t give the Jets a list, but that he spoke glowingly about former teammates and told the Jets executives that he met with who he enjoyed playing with during his career.

Payne joked that maybe he wrote down the names in a circle pattern so that it was not a list. Pendergast added that he could have had Fat Head stickers on his wall that he pointed to instead of writing anything at all.

In Payne’s mind, this is a case of Russini catching stray frustration. Neither in her initial tweet nor in any subsequent media appearance did she use the phrase “demands”.

“What he’s actually responding to in that instance is Pat McAfee is the one that described it as a list of demands,” Seth Payne said.

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