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Brandon Tierney Has Unfinished Business In New York

“My roots run deep in this city. I’m one of you. I just happen to be blessed with a microphone every day. I can promise you we will not always agree and we will most definitely battle, but you will get my absolute best.”

Demetri Ravanos




Brandon Tierney is a star. Just ask anyone that has worked with him or that has been entertained by him. He has had success in markets large and small. Most recently, he said farewell to his CBS Sports Radio audience after a nine-year run on the national network. Now, it is time to get some professional wins that won’t just represent career goals. They will be the culmination of lifelong dreams as well.

If you were a New York sports fan in the 1980s, there are four iconic letters that have shaped the way you think and talk about sports. Brandon was just 14 years old when WFAN signed on at 1050 AM. Getting there was a goal of his as soon as he realized he was going to be a broadcaster.

While he eventually made it to 1050 AM, it was long after WFAN moved down the dial to 660 AM. That changes this week. Brandon Tienery and his partner of the last nine years, Tiki Barber, officially join the WFAN lineup.

Before the duo take over the mid day slot, I had the chance to chat with Brandon about what the opportunity and the history of the station mean to him. We also talked about what Tiki & Tierney could change about the station and what the station will change about the show.


Demetri Ravanos: What does it mean to you to finally get that call and to now host a daytime show on WFAN? 

Brandon Tierney: Surreal. The realization of my earliest industry dream. I never knew exactly how I would get there, or when, but I always believed that I would.

That aspiration was fuel early in my career. It balanced me, centered me no matter what part of the country I was living in or how far away from home I was. I always had an eye on working at WFAN.

In 1997, as an intern in the Promotions Department at the station, I used to recruit other interns and sneak into a small production studio at the back of the station in Queens and do mock shows. Every day. Sat behind a mic, and actually rolled thru topic after topic. We weren’t even recording, but the allure of that microphone and those topics. It was potent, like a drug. I was creating a template for how I would eventually host. Finding my style, my voice, what worked, what didn’t.

I remember being so disappointed when I was kicked out of that studio and forced to actually do something pertaining to promotions. All I wanted to do was talk. Promotions? Nahhh man, I just want to let it rip. And I’ve always dreamt of doing it on WFAN from Day 1.

DR: How did this radio station influence your entry to the business? Who did you listen to?  

BT: WFAN is in my DNA. It’s a huge part of who I am, even though I’ve yet to launch the new show, It was just always there, engrained in my soul. The sound. The energy. The jingles. How big it felt when I was a kid.

My Dad always had it on in the car, starting with Imus. I fell asleep to the Schmooze. I was captivated by the back and forth of Mike and Chris, the combative nature of some for their debates. They made it sound so important because it was so important – to them, to us as a city. Our teams, Knicks vs Bulls, Knicks vs Pacers, Knicks vs Heat, Yankees vs Red Sox, Bobby V.  You cannot fake that. You’re either all in or you’re out. We sniff out the posers right away, we know when a host truly cares and we definitely know when someone is just wasting a few hours a day on the radio collecting a paycheck.  

I view that as a personal affront to New York fans. They deserve the best. They’ve had the best. They demand the best.  And it is my mission to continue that lineage, to make it even better with my slant and my style. But it’s not going to happen overnight.

I’m not naive. I have to earn the trust and respect of a new audience. I’m entering this phase of my career almost as if no one knows who I am. I don’t assume that listeners will remember me from my days at 1050 ESPN Radio or SNY or St. John’s. It’s a blank slate. And I can’t wait to begin creating something meaningful and God willing, something lasting and palpable.

DR: When Spike Eskin and Chris Oliviero raised the idea of moving over with Tiki to the local side, were there any reservations on your end or Tiki’s? 

BT: Zero. The timing is right. I’ve always leaned on my instincts in this business and trusted my gut, and thankfully those instincts have always led me to a better place. To leave New York for San Francisco in 2011, of course there were real doubts, but deep down I was confident that was the right move, and it was.

I didn’t know it then, but it was preparing me for a 9-year national run. It added depth to my on-air game. It enabled me to do a four-hour Sunday morning NFL show (TOPS) for seven years, to mix it up with Coach Cowher and Boomer and eventually Nate. It diversified my game. And most importantly, it brought me back home, to the company that owns the FAN. That part definitely put me in position to make the jump back into local waters.

There were two levels to this move: the emotional level, which I was fully on board with from minute one. And of course the business side, which we were able to hammer out fairly quick. Once the two meshed, it was a no-brainer. 

DR: After spending a decade on CBS Sports Radio, which is right next door to WFAN, how many times did you walk past the studio & think to yourself ‘that’s where I belong!’? 


BT: I think I did a good job of balancing what I can control versus what I cannot and really just living in the moment. I appreciated what we were building on the national level. and investing all of my energies into that. Every year our profile and reach grew, especially when we launched the TV simulcast five years ago. Growth was my singular focus.

Candidly, of course, my mind occasionally wandered. I missed the energy and juice of local, but I did not live looking backwards. There were really no “what ifs,” just a desire to create something compelling, something memorable, and something lasting with Tiki.

If you squeeze too hard, things tend to fall out of your grasp. Personal maturity and a confidence in my place in the business allowed me to just be immersed in the show, to be present in the show, without constantly hoping for change.

Yes, without elaborating, there were a few times the past few years where it seemed as if my platform was poised to change. But for a multitude of reasons, it never happened, and I always took solace in the fact that it simply was not meant to be. Not yet. You can’t speed up fate. You can try, but it’s almost always more damaging than rewarding and beneficial.

DR: One interesting thing I think is that you have been in the building, just not at WFAN, as legends like Mike, Chernoff, and Steve said goodbye. You’ve been influenced by them as a listener, they have been co-workers. Chernoff was even your boss at CBSSR. But you represent a new era for the station without those names. How do you process that and what was it like to see and interact with that history in the way that you did? 

BT: I do not take that responsibility lightly, I embrace it. And as much as we rightly romanticize what WFAN used to be, to me, I’m very impressed with our current lineup and looking forward to joining my new teammates. We have a ton of talent with diverse deliveries, different personalities and styles.

For me, Boomer represents the quintessential player-turned-broadcaster: big presence, great playing resume, ability to expand on all sports, a true fan, which a lot of former athletes are not. When he speaks, it carries weight, but he’s also very comfortable laughing at himself and with others. And he better be, because sitting next to Gio every morning is a ride in itself. I think Gregg’s comedic timing and unpredictability are outstanding. He’s another talent willing to laugh at himself. He is legitimately funny and truly a good dude.

As for Craig and Evan, like any new show, naturally, they are still finding their ultimate footing together. But their individual talents are so obvious. Evan is a true fan. The dude knows his stuff as well as anyone in the city. He’s a walking sports search engine. And being wired like that myself, I truly appreciate that. Now, our deliveries are very different and we are two completely different personalties, but the work required to be that in tune with so many different things, I get it and I really respect it.

As for Craig, I view him as a radio genius, and I’ve told him that. New York radio is simply better when Carton has a mic. His ability to keep things moving, to piss people off, to hit areas most people are unwilling or unable to effectively hit, he was born for this job.

So again…the history and roots of WFAN are what pulled me, but adding to that unmatched legacy, that drives me. As for my partner, I simply love the guy. At the top of the list in terms of intelligence. Just a naturally curious person. Adaptable. We play off each other well. He knows when I’m getting ready to enter my zone, when the voice raises, the hands start flying and the beads of sweat build…and he allows me the space needed to be me. To do what I do.

It’s such an underrated aspect of a partnership. Mike was great with that with Chris. When it was time to explode, Mike surrendered the stage, so to speak. And long ago, l learned what drives him, and I surrender the space as well. But segment to segment, day to day, we are just in sync. We see the world in a very similar manner. We both subscribe to hard work, accountability, and common sense. We both come from relatively humble beginnings. But we also disagree on enough things inherently where there is an equal give and take. Nothing is contrived. Our deliveries are polar opposites. 

Personally, I think Tiki is going to love local. He’s never experienced radio quite like this. You strap in every day. Bring a hard hat, exhale, and do it all again the next day and the day after. It’s like being back in the trenches, back on a field. 

DR: Looking at WFAN, Gregg Giannotti, Craig Carton & yourself have hosted in other cities. Spike Eskin has programmed in other cities, yet others have moved up the ladder within the building to earn their shot. There’s no one way to be successful there anymore. How do you feel the experience of working in other major markets has made you capable of handling the big stage in NYC? 

Brandon Tierney: The Sixers Have to Trade Ben Simmons

BT: I would not change a thing, quite frankly. As a young broadcaster with no family commitments at that time, traveling the country, chasing my dreams, it added a layer of depth that I believe is very much an asset for me on-air: toughness. Nothing was easy and nothing was handed to me.

I always felt natural behind a mic, but my actual broadcasting ascent was an arduous one. Lots of tough decisions and blind faith, an empty bank account until the age of almost 30. Granted, some people’s paths are more linear than mine. It’s a straight shot. Graduate from college, hook up with a local radio or TV station before slowly ascending to a more visible position. There are many examples of that in our field and in our market, highly successful talents who never left the city.

But for me, it was an amazing, galvanizing experience. The different traditions of each fan base, the politics of each city…I embraced it all. But even throughout all of my travels deep down, my focus was always on working and thriving in New York. It was my magnet.

Mentally, I never wavered from that New York sensibility, with the belief that I would eventually return home one day better than ever. When? Where? With whom? I wasn’t sure, but I always had conviction I would be back. I always felt as if I had unfinished business in New York. 

DR: Aside from the obvious content selection, how will Tiki & Tierney on WFAN be different from the nationally syndicated version of Tiki & Tierney

BT: Callers. On the national level, it’s all about topic development. It’s paramount to see things and present them in an interesting, non-obvious way. So there was the constant inner battle of talking about Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers but doing so in a way that was different from say, Colin Cowherd or Dan Patrick. That is a lot tougher than you think.

Locally, it’s about tapping into the vein of informed, passionate fans. The presentation is different. It’s a quicker pace. The tone is different. Still authentic, still intelligent…but a bit more raw, which I love. It’s natural. From the moment you open that mic locally, there is a rush and surge of adrenaline that is hard to describe and for me, nearly impossible to replicate in any other facet of my life. That pure, unfiltered mix of every possible emotion wrapped up into one memorable rant or take? It’s the best. It’s what drives me professionally, still to this day. It’s lmost like chasing the perfect golf shot. When everything clicks, when it all meshes, you feel like your flying.

DR: Is there anything about national radio you will miss when the show goes local?

BT: I had the great fortune of having a very large platform during a very pivotal, volatile time in American history. The world was changing and we had a lot of important conversations that I will always cherish. They were uncomfortable conversations that we brought an element of comfort to, conversations and topics that transcended sport. Real depth. That’s probably the best part of doing a national show. The reach.

Generally there is more surface stuff in national. More macro and less micro, less in the weeds.

But I like the weeds and have always enjoyed the nuance of local. I love the intimacy, but national gives you a chance to branch out in a way that that local does not. It was a nice weapon, one I took very seriously. 

DR: Any concerns about interacting with a vocal Giants fan base that has a love/hate relationship with Tiki? 

Tom Coughlin, ex-Giants coach, was 'very upset' when he heard Eli Manning  was benched - New York Daily News

BT: We relish it. I know Tiki does. Listen, there’s no way around it, people are going to test Tiki early. Some are going to come to the table with a gripe or preconceived perception of who he is or what he did. A gripe that he retired early, resentment about what he said about Eli and Coughlin.

The irony is that during the time in which he said what said, we were ALL saying the same exact thing on the local airwaves. There was no real evidence early that Eli was absolutely going to elevate the Giants to prominence and there was little evidence Coughlin was going to do the same despite success in Jacksonville. He was inflexible. Some thought his style was antiquated, that it would no longer work with the modern athlete. It was not seamless for either with the Giants.

I think at the end of the day, Tiki was only guilty of one thing: bad timing. When he said what he said, it came across as malicious, but that was never the intent. He was transitioning to the media, and I think the tone was unintentionally lost. Do I think Tiki could have communicated his thoughts on Eli better? I do. It was a bit awkward.

Forget about this business for one second though. Let’s just talk character. I’ve always taken immense pride in reading people, being able to decipher good intentions versus malicious ones. I’ve sat in the same studio with Tiki every day for nearly a decade. I know his character. I know the type of father he is. I know how well-intentioned and selfless he is with all of his charitable endeavors. Some fans will come with venom initially. I fully expect that and so does he. But I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t win them over quickly.

If you truly know Tiki Barber the person, the man, the father and husband, the concerned citizen, you can’t help but like the guy. And oh yeah, by the way, he’s one of the greatest players in the history of New York football, so there’s always that. 

DR: When you consider how WFAN was built over the past three decades and compare it to the new lineup and direction entering 2022 and beyond, what final message do you have for New York sports fans who’ve made this brand a huge part of their lives? 

BT: I do not take this responsibility lightly. I view it as if I am finally putting on the pinstripes, the absolute best brand in all of sports radio. This has always been a dream of mine. I’m from here. Grew up in Brooklyn and high school in Manhattan. My parents still live in the same home I grew up in. Sister lives in Manhattan. Both sets of grandparents lived in Brooklyn.  

My roots run deep in this city. I’m one of you. I just happen to be blessed with a microphone every day. I can promise you we will not always agree and we will most definitely battle, but you will get my absolute best. Every fiber in my body will be fixated on doing this job to the absolute best of my capability. If you’re thinking it, I can promise you I will have the balls to say it. And back it up. When I’m wrong, I will own it. I don’t hide and I won’t duck. I will be accountable and I will demand accountability and transparency from every team in this market. Fans deserve that. Every morning at 10 AM, a little piece of Mike and Chris and Joe B and the Schmooze and all of the other great pioneers of this amazing network of voices and personalities will be with me in spirit.


I’ll do it my way, the only way I know how. I will be true to who I am and what I believe in. And I hope that before long, people will say, “You know, that BT, I really like that dude. He’s a little nuts, a little loud, but he knows his shit. Would love to have a beer with that guy.”

I’ve been fueled by this crazy dream I conjured up all those years ago. I’m ready. That’s my message for New York and New Jersey. Now, it’s time to stop telling you what I’m going to do. It’s time to simply start doing it. 

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Vic Lombardi Turns Nuggets Disrespect into Great Content

“I keep telling people they’re going to go where the money is. The money is the Lakers and the big city teams. The Nuggets don’t sell.” 

Tyler McComas



courtesy of Vic Lombardi

There was a feeling of Denver vs. Everyone during the 10 days that separated the end of the Western Conference Finals and Game 1 of the NBA Finals. The word “boring” was being used to describe what it was going to be like watching the Nuggets play for an NBA title. It didn’t sit well with Denver media and sports fans, as the unfair tag was being consistently referenced by certain members of the national sports media.

Vic Lombardi of Altitude Sports Radio in Denver, along with several of his co-workers, decided to fight against a narrative they found uneducated and unfair. In their eyes, all you had to do this season was to actually watch the Nuggets to find them interesting.  

“We assume everyone else knows what we know,” said Lombardi. “We assume that the rest of the country is watching. And all this has done, to be honest with you, has proven that a lot of national folks don’t watch as carefully as they say they do. Because if they watched they wouldn’t be as surprised as they are right now.”

There was even an on-air spat with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated on the Altitude Sports Radio airwaves. During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, Mannix said there weren’t any compelling or interesting storylines surrounding the Nuggets first-ever NBA Finals appearance.

Lombardi, along with other hosts at Altitude Sports Radio took exception to the comment and fired back with their thoughts. A few days later, Mannix appeared on the station to defend his position and stick up for what he thought was accurate. Though the tensions were high during the back-and-forth it was incredible content for the station. 

But Lombardi says he doesn’t take the spats, whether they’re public or private, all that seriously when other fellow media members. 

“The arguments, if they’re anything, they’re all in fun,” said Lombardi. “I don’t take this stuff personally. We had a little back and forth with Chris Mannix. That was fun. I actually saw him in Denver when he came out for media. I respect anyone who’s willing to make their point on the air. It’s not the media’s job, it’s not your job as a host or a writer to tell me what I find compelling or interesting. We’re all from different parts with different needs and you can’t tell me what I desire. Let me pick that. Chase a story because the public may learn something. We’re curious by nature, that’s why we got into this business. All I ask is be more curious.”

The entire team at Altitude Sports Radio did an incredible job of sticking up for their own market and creating memorable content out of it. That should be celebrated inside the station’s walls. None of the outrage was forced; it was all genuine. But what’s the lesson to learn here from media folks, both local and national with this story? 

“I think the takeaway is number one, it’s a business,” said Lombardi. “I keep telling people they’re going to go where the money is. The money is the Lakers and the big city teams. The Nuggets don’t sell. 

“Well, you start selling when you start winning. They’ve got to sort of earn their way into that club. I think with what the Nuggets have done recently, and hopefully with what they’re about to do, they’re at the adult table. The media business is not unlike anything else. The biggest common denominator is what sells. I get that. I just don’t understand why a team like this, with the most unique player most people have ever seen, why wouldn’t that sell?”

Maybe it’s still not selling nationally, but locally in Denver, Nuggets talk is on fire. For years, the Denver market has been seen as one where the Broncos and NFL rule. The Nuggets have not been close to the top of Denver sports fans’ interests and have probably fallen routinely behind the Avalanche. 

But there’s been a real craving for Nuggets talk during this historic run. Granted, it didn’t just start two weeks ago, there’s been momentum building for the team ever since Nikola Jokic started asserting himself as one of the best players in the NBA. But there’s more than just an appetite for the Broncos in the city and the past few years have shown it. 

“I think it’s just proven to people in the city that the town is much different than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago,” said Lombardi. “The Broncos continue to rule this town and will do so because the NFL is the NFL. But I can tell you this. There are sports fans outside the NFL. I’m born and raised in Denver and I always believed, what’s so wrong about being an ardent fan of every sport? If you’re a fan, you’re a fan. There’s nothing I hate more than territorializing sports. Like, ‘oh I’m just a football fan’. Or, ‘oh I’m just a hockey fan’. Why? Sports crosses all borders and boundaries.”

Lombardi and Altitude Sports Radio have settled into local coverage of the NBA Finals, rather than fighting with a national narrative. The payoff for the entire ride has been very rewarding for the station. It included what Lombardi called the “highest of highs” when the Nuggets beat the Lakers on their own floor. It even included one of the biggest events the city has seen in the last five years, when the Nuggets hosted its first-ever NBA Finals game last week. 

The last few weeks could even be considered one of the most rewarding times in station history for Altitude Sports Radio. 

“Our ratings have never been higher,” said Lombardi. “It’s a great display of, sometimes in the media, we think we know what the listener wants. We think we do and we try to force feed them. I think the national folks do that, but so do the local folks. You think they know, but if you give them a nice diet, they’ll choose what they want. And that’s what we’ve done.”

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The Top 5 Bangs of Mike Breen’s Career

“Whether it comes in the playoffs or the regular season, it’s an unmistakable, yet simple way to convey the message that something extraordinary has just happened.”

Avatar photo



Courtesy: AP Photo

Even though he isn’t thrilled by the moniker, Mike Breen has become the voice of the NBA. The veteran play-by-play announcer is too modest to brag about the name. He’s very respectful of those that have come before him. Whether or not he likes the title, for a certain generation of NBA fans, he’s the only television voice they’ve known. 

Breen has occupied the big chair for ABC/ESPN since 2006 and is in the midst of calling his record 18th consecutive NBA Finals. Breen is professionalism personified, but the thing that separates him from most is his ability to infuse wit into his broadcasts. He’s not stuffy, and always seems to enjoy the moment. 

“Bang!” is the word Breen has used for pretty much his entire career. He started using it as a student at Fordham. When he wasn’t calling games there, he’d watch from the stands and yell “Bang!” every time a Fordham player hit a shot. Then he took it to air. It’s taken off from there. 

Breen’s “Bang!” is synonymous with a big moment. Whether it comes in the playoffs or the regular season, it’s an unmistakable, yet simple way to convey the message that something extraordinary has just happened. 

With that in mind, I have compiled a list of the five best “BANG!” calls including a couple of Honorable Mentions. There really were no criteria, so the call could have come in the playoffs, or in a few cases the regular season. 


The Bulls were playing in front of a packed house at the United Center. They were trying to ride native son Derrick Rose to a series win over the Cavaliers. Game 3 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Semifinal v. Cleveland came down to the wire. 

“Dunleavy, looking, finds Rose, Rose trying to get open, fires away….BANG! It’s over! The Bulls win at the buzzer! It still is a Madhouse on Madison as Derrick Rose nails the three. And the Bulls take a 2-1 lead in this Eastern Conference semifinal.”


This was a pretty simple, yet very effective call. After a key turnover by Steve Nash, the resulting jump ball finally got into the hands of Bryant. 

“A one-point game…final seconds Bryant for the win….BANG!!” 

There was a lot of silence after the call and the pictures were allowed to tell the incredible story. 


During the height of “Linsanity” Jeremy Lin hit a game winning three pointer at the buzzer on February 14, 2012.  This was a regular season game in Toronto and the crowd was into it like it was game 7 of a playoff series. The call shows you that Breen succeeds when the game is intense and close late whether in the playoffs or a regular season game. 

“Mike D’Antoni won’t call timeout and let the Raptors set up their D. The crowd on its feet here at the Air Canada Centre. Lin puts it up. Bang! Jeremy Lin from downtown and the Knicks take the lead! Amazing here at the Air Canada Centre. Five tenths of a second remaining. Lin-sanity continues.” 


Eric Gordon hit a tough double-clutch three-pointer to send this regular season game in 2019 against the Lakers into overtime. This one led Breen to pull out the rare double bang!

“They find Gordon. Gordon puts up a three. Bang! Bang! He ties the game!”

It wasn’t a playoff game or even a very memorable game overall. Perhaps Breen got caught up in the moment? It happens. 


Dallas was already down 2 games to 1 in the first round of the 2020 NBA playoffs in the Walt Disney World bubble. The Mavericks didn’t want their own bubble to burst, so they turned to Doncic. The Mavs were down 1 in OT with 3.7 seconds left to go. Luka Doncic took a dribble, created some space and let it fly. 

“Doncic pulls up, three-pointer, BANG, BANG! IT’S GOOD, DONCIC WINS THE GAME AT THE BUZZER!” After a little time and some replays, Breen astutely added, “We are witnessing the next great star in the NBA, in his first playoff series.”

The rare double bang rears its head again. Kudos to Breen for generating this much excitement without any fans in the building. It’s pretty impressive and hard to do, just shows that he can rise to the moment without any help from the vibes in a building during a game.


This shot was one of the biggest in the career of Ray Allen. Playing for the Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, he hit a crucial shot to send Game 6 into overtime. Breen made the moment iconic.  “James catches, puts up a three, won’t go, rebound Bosh, back out to Allen, his three-pointer, BANG. TIE GAME WITH 5 SECONDS REMAINING!”

Breen’s voice captured the emotion of the moment, without being out of control. He recalled to the Athletic in 2020 what went into that call. 

“I remember looking over at the Spurs’ bench. They were, I don’t want to trash them and say they were celebrating, but they were ready to celebrate. It was that giddiness, the hopping up and down, we’re about to win a championship.” Breen said. “It seemed like it was a foregone conclusion. And then, the thing about it, there had to be about six or seven things to fall into place for that to happen, over the last 30 seconds and every single one of them fell into place.”


The original “double bang” game, came in 2016 as Steph Curry and the Warriors faced Oklahoma City in February. The Warriors entered 53-4 and Curry had already hit 11, 3-point field goals on the night. Who could blame Breen for getting caught up in this play? The game-winning and record-tying basket came from a spot on the floor that almost nobody hits from. 

“They do have a timeout. Decide not to use it. Curry, way downtown. Bang! Bang! Oh, what a shot from Curry! With six tenths of a second remaining! The brilliant shooting of Stephen Curry continues. he ties the NBA record with his 12th three-pointer of the game.”

“Don’t ask me why or how it came out,” Mike Breen was quoted of saying after the game. “It was like an out-of-body experience.” 

Breen’s effect on the players has been noted on a few occasions in recent months. 7 years after the call of Curry’s 40-footer, and the birth of the double-bang, Curry honored the call with a pair of his new shoes. They’re called the Curry 2 Bang Bang PE Retros. Curry delivered the shoes to Breen in person and included this video message: 

“I realize there’s no way we can drop these without the involvement of the man who gave these shoes a nickname seven years ago. You’re the first person to get these in hand. We got a double bang and call in 2016, before it’s all said and done, I think I need a triple bang call from Mr. Mike Breen himself.”

Breen saw the shoes, then embraced Curry. He also shared a message of gratitude, saying “It’s an honor calling his games. And to have him say I have a small part of it means more than he knows and more than you can imagine. Thank you.”

Other players seem to really enjoy being immortalized with a “Bang!” Just the other day, Jamal Murray hit a three-pointer for Denver. Breen called the play, “back to Murray, another three-pointer. It’s good! Jamal Murray red hot.” Mark Jackson jumped in after noticing something after the shot.  “Hey Mike, you didn’t see this, but Jamal Murray just looked over here and said BANG.” That’s pretty cool. 

Breen continues to shine on the biggest stage of basketball, surely he’s setting up for another terrific run in this year’s finals. 

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Meet the Market Managers: David Yadgaroff, Audacy Philadelphia

“It’s hard to replace somebody as iconic as Angelo, who really lived and breathed his role, setting the agenda for the Philadelphia sports fan.”

Demetri Ravanos




David Yadgaroff doesn’t talk just to hear himself speak. He gets to the point and he does it quickly, whether he is telling you what he is thinking or he is answering your questions. That fact is evidenced by the length of this week’s entry to the Meet the Market Managers series presented by Point-to-Point Marketing.

It has been a wild ride for WIP over the last 18 months. Yadgaroff had to find a new PD, figure out the best way to send off the station’s iconic morning host, and launch new shows in two different day parts. In the middle of it all were World Series and Super Bowl runs to deal with, too.

Yadgaroff discusses all of it. He also makes time to weigh in on how he addresses Audacy’s stock issues with his staff, the climate of political advertising, and the best practices he has found for making sure advertisers are making the most of digital products.

Demetri Ravanos: Tell me about life since Angelo Cataldi retired. What has changed in terms of the atmosphere in the building? 

David Yadgaroff: It’s a great question. It’s hard to replace somebody as iconic as Angelo, who really lived and breathed his role, setting the agenda for the Philadelphia sports fan. But we’re really proud of what Joe (DeCamara), Jon (Ritchie), James (Seltzer), and Rhea (Hughes) have done in the morning to deliver a show that’s fresh and new, but also lives up to the expectation that Angelo set.              

The addition of Hugh Douglas to midday with Joe Giglio has been very fun, too, because Hugh is a great character and teammate, and fun around the office, as well as very compelling and entertaining radio. 

DR: So I do want to circle back on Jon and Joe here in just a second, but I do wonder, because Angelo had sort of made some hints before he officially announced his retirement. At the time you were looking for a new program director, was his decision about when to call that a career something that ever came up as you were searching for Spike’s successor? Is it something candidates wanted to know about? 

DY: Yeah, absolutely. Angelo was a great partner and expressed his interest in retiring. At that time, Spike had got promoted to New York, so we discussed the radio station as a whole. Angelo, obviously his brand was so closely tied to ours and ours so closely tied to his, he said that he’d do whatever we needed at the radio station to make the transition smooth. That is how we ended up with that last year where Angelo took Wednesdays off to give him a little bit of rest and peace as he finished out his agreement. Then, obviously, he wanted to remain on until the Eagles’ season finally ended, so we had the gift of having Angelo with us until February. 

DR: Let’s circle back on Joe and Jon. They are obviously known commodities to WIP’s advertisers. The job of getting that particular population on board with those guys moving into mornings, it’s very different than getting listeners on board, right? So many of your advertisers are going to be on in multiple dayparts, whereas the listeners may only come in on their drive to work or on their drive home from work. I would imagine on the business side, this was a pretty smooth transition. 

DY: Very smooth. We retained the vast majority of the legacy morning show advertisers, as well as retaining the advertisers that came from middays to mornings. The fresh perspective and excitement about the radio station helped drive more sales as well.                   

You think about the last 12 months of the radio station, Angelo is talking about his farewell, we’re doing a lot of fun stunts about that time, the Phillies postseason, the Eagles postseason, the farewell event, and officially the beginning of a new show that already was a fan favorite. Really, we are very fortunate to have been at the forefront of the sports media narrative in Philadelphia for quite some time. 

DR: The elephant in the room when it comes to Audacy right now is what’s going on with the company’s stock price. I know you cannot give me specific answers, but I do wonder, as somebody that is charged with leading a cluster, you have so many people that you are responsible for. Do you find yourself having conversations where you’re talking to someone that assumes you have more answers than you actually do right now? 

DY: Let me give you the general vibe. We have a very robust business with six radio stations creating a lot of multi-platform content, selling a lot of advertising, and doing fun things. So for our staff on this side of the building, it’s business as usual. We’re having success in many metrics and marching right along. 

DR: The thing I wonder about that’s different for you than other Audacy stations is you literally share a space with Audacy Corporate.

DY: I run a culture of transparency and when things happen that are newsworthy, I make sure to address them. When things aren’t newsworthy, I try to reinforce our core business here, which is one that is very profitable and healthy. 

DR: So last year was extraordinary sports-wise in Philadelphia. Tell me a bit about the new opportunities that were created for WIP, whether we’re talking about interest from new potential clients or an influx of new listeners. 

DY: So WIP has the benefit of being the voice of the fan for decades. We talk a lot about the Eagles. Fans want to talk Eagles 52 weeks a year, and when the Eagles perform, there’s such enthusiasm and excitement. So, yes, I think we pick up new listeners and I know we pick up new advertisers to be part of that fun.               

The Phillies’ season sort of picked up suddenly at the end. It was a much more concentrated and exciting time that everybody just got into from an advertising standpoint, analyst standpoint, and fan standpoint. It was a lot of excitement in a very short period of time.

DR: Given how much Audacy has embraced digital products and where we are in terms of consumption these days, everybody is so used to on-demand content. Nobody works on a station or network’s timetable anymore. Have you found any advertisers that are more interested in the on-demand product than the traditional radio broadcast? 

DY: I don’t think there’s a general statement that describes everyone’s appetite. We focus our salespeople on trying to sell multi-platform campaigns through re-marketing. We find that the more things advertisers are invested in, the more connected they are with our business and the more success they have. All of our salespeople are cross-trained. Ultimately, we try to focus on what an advertiser needs and then make successful recommendations for them. There’s a lot of attention on WIP, so obviously they’re doing a nice job of that. 

DR: Let’s talk about that cross-training as it relates to the stations in the cluster. I recently read this piece that said we are already on pace to see political advertising for the 2024 election cycle surpass what we spent in 2020. Last year, you guys have these two contentious elections inside of Pennsylvania. When it comes to revenue generation, has the fracture between the two parties been relatively good for business in radio? I mean, do you find that people that candidates are advertising further and further out from election day now? 

DY: I think there’s two folds to that question. One is the TV advertising environment gets so toxic and nasty with political ads. It forces out transactional advertisers. That gives us the opportunity to put those advertisers on the radio. So that’s one part. The second part of it is, yes, candidates for PACs are spending more and they’re spending more frequently. 

DR: I would imagine that KYW and WPHT see most of those buys in your cluster, but what about WIP? How much are those PACs and candidates and those campaigns looking to a format to spread their message where maybe the listener is not engaged in the political conversation 24 hours a day? 

DY: I think the first thought is that stations like KYW and PHT do the best, but it really depends on the campaign and the issue and what their strategy is. I mean, there are some issues and campaigns that come down that they can only want to buy. WBEB And WOGL because they are looking for a suburban mom. So it really depends. I think political advertisers are a lot more strategic than they were years ago where they just bought news and news talk. 

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