A lot has been made of the Chicago Cubs’ plans to launch a streaming service in partnership with Sinclair Broadcasting, which co-owns Marquee Sports with the team. On Wednesday, Laurence Holmes welcomed Chicago Sun Times Deputy Sports Editor Jeff Agrest to his show on 670 The Score to talk about the plan and just how quickly it may come to fruition.
The team cannot just flip a switch and launch a streaming version of Marquee Sports. Carriage agreements with the cable and satellite companies that distribute Marquee would have to be renegotiated.
Agrest said he has had trouble determining if the Cubs really do have total control of their streaming rights. If they don’t, it could really slow down their plans.
“MLB could say ‘we’re not giving you the streaming rights’ even though there are 4 teams in baseball whose rights belong to Sinclair or Bally Sports Network now,” Agrest said. “Look, they run the league, so I imagine there’s something they could do to get in the way of this. But if the Cubs have them now, it would be tricky for MLB to get in their way.”
Agrest said that streaming is “still a new frontier for sports,” but teams in all leagues know they have a product that advertisers value.
“They see what the distribution of their games gets them. We see the billions of dollars the NFL gets. They know their value. Baseball teams are in a unique position because they have the most inventory.”
The rumored price point is going to turn a lot of people off from a Cubs streaming service according to Jeff Agrest. At $18 per month, the cost will reportedly be higher than the Disney bundle of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.
That already causes alarm, but Agrest says that it doesn’t even really paint an accurate picture of what customers are being asked to shell out. In fact, he isn’t even sure the math works out as well for Marquee as it would for another regional sports network in the market.
“It can’t really be a monthly charge, because no one is going to want to pay for it in December, in January. It’s gonna have to be a yearly charge and that is going to change the mathematics of it,” he said. “The churn rate is going to be enormous for that type of product because it’s not a full season. Marquee has one team, whereas if you’re NBC Sports Chicago and you get to that point, and they will at some point, you at least have three teams and you can go year-round.”
Matt Volk to Exit BetQL, Mitch Rosen and Danny Freisinger Earn Internal Promotions
“SVP of Sports Matthew Volk will be leaving the company.”
Behind the scenes changes are coming to the BetQL network. The Audacy owned sports betting operation will have different leadership in place to guide day to day strategy and execution entering 2023.
In an internal note sent out earlier by Audacy EVP of Programming Jeff Sottolano, it was revealed that SVP of Sports Matthew Volk will be leaving the company. Volk has been offered a C-level position back home in Boston which allows him to return to his first love, sports television.
Sottolano said of Volk’s exit, “It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that Matt Volk will be leaving Audacy at the end of this year. I hired Matt less than two years ago primarily to oversee the build out of our BetQL Network. He has done exactly that, helped cement a long term investment from BetMGM in the network and led the successful launch – surrounded by a talented team – of our 2400Sports podcast network this year.”
To help fill the void, Sottolano shared that Danny Freisinger will be elevated to VP of Sports and have operational oversight of the 2400Sports podcast network. The former 95.7 The Game Assistant Program Director and ESPN 1320 PD will also lead the company’s sports editorial and video content teams and team with Sports Format VP Spike Eskin on new multi-platform content development for internal and external distribution platforms. Sottolano added that 2400Sports VP/Executive Producer Lena Glaser will remain in charge of prestige/national podcast shows, talent and content development.
Additionally, 670 The Score PD Mitch Rosen will be elevated from Director of Operations to VP of the BetQL Network. Part of his responsibility will include overseeing BetQL Brand Manager Andrew Williams and leading the network’s team of talent, producers and writers. Sottolano also said shared that Rosen will work closely with Mike Dee to grow the network’s sports book relationships and increase external distribution of the network. His involvement with BetQL will not affect his status as The Score’s brand manager.
Adam Schein Dishes On His Big Break, His Podcast, Chris Carlin, and More
“I’ve been at SiriusXM for 18 glorious years and been at CBS Sports for 11 years and we’ve been hosting Time To Schein since 2015. Frankly, I consider both places unbelievable places to work.”
Between his work on SiriusXM Radio hosting Schein On Sports, hosting Time To Schein, That Other Pregame Show, and NFL Monday QB on CBS Sports Network, it’s hard to find one day a week where Adam Schein isn’t voicing his opinions or airing longform interviews on his podcast, The Adam Schein Podcast.
That being said, Schein brings a good mix of sports and entertainment whenever he is on-air. I got the chance to talk to Schein about the big breaks during his career, hosting TOPS every NFL Sunday for the last 10 years, how he feels his on-air personality has changed over his career if at all, and much more.
Hopefully you will find this feature as more of a boom than a bust if you remember Schein’s days hosting Loud Mouths with Chris Carlin on SNY from 2008-2015:
Barrett Sports Media: What would you consider your first big break in your career?
Adam Schein: I think there were a couple big ones in terms of turning points. Frankly, my first big break was when I was in college and the Program Director of the all-sports radio station, the now defunct WHEN, heard me doing a postgame show for Syracuse lacrosse on WAER — the best sports college radio station in the country — and contacted me through a friend from our radio station, Jim Lurch, who was interning for him and had me send him tapes. That led to me filling in spring of my senior year (1999) which led to my first job out of college. I started doing the afternoon drive show in 1999 for WHEN radio so that was a huge break.
Then, in 2001, I got an audition to do an overnight on WFAN when there was an opening for a Saturday overnight. I drove down from Syracuse to New York. It’s funny because Syracuse was in the Big East Tournament then. It’s actually the only time in my life where I rooted against Syracuse basketball. If Syracuse would have made the Big East final, I would have had all sorts of conflicts. I was doing a postgame show for Syracuse in addition to my daily show, so Syracuse thankfully lost and didn’t make it to the championship. I did an overnight in March of 2001 right before Selection Sunday and that went well and that led to a lot of opportunities.
During an internship I had in summer of 1997 where I met Steve Cohen and he left WFAN in 2004 to start NFL radio at Sirius. Steve likes to say I was his first draft pick, so that was a big break for me in terms of going from WFAN to Sirius and I’ve been at Sirius since Steve Cohen hired me in 2004. Those are three big turning points, I would say big breaks in my career.
BSM: What would you say is your defining moment as a broadcaster?
AS: The beauty for me is I always end every show by saying greatest show in the 18-year-history of Schein On Sports or I end Time To Schein by saying that’s a show. I really think that every show is a joy ride. Everytime, I have an audience responsibility to make that show the best show I’ve ever done and then frankly, make tomorrow’s show the best show we’ve ever done. There are obviously certain shows that are memorable.
The day that I was on SiriusXM on Schein on Sports when LeBron James signed back in Cleveland, penned that letter for Sports Illustrated, that was a great one. First time we ever did Time To Schein (August 17, 2015). That was a wonderful moment and a special show. I’ll never forget launching NFL Radio in 2004 with John Riggins, that was a really special day.
Being in New Orleans and Jackson Square, hosting NFL Monday QB for the Ravens-49ers Super Bowl 11 years ago now, that was incredible. Being with Phil Simms and Rich Gannon and Steve Beuerlein and Dan Marino, that was incredible. The first TOPS show we did on CBS Sports Network from the Super Bowl in Atlanta, that was a really special moment.
I always love the radio shows after you have first-time champions. The pure joy and jubilation. The Cubs finally winning the championship or listening to people cry after Cleveland finally won a championship or the Eagles winning the Super Bowl. Those would be some responses in terms of the most memorable shows I’ve ever done.
BSM: How much do you miss talking New York sports from your days at WFAN and SNY. Do you reminisce on that a little bit or do you identify more as a national sports broadcaster?
AS: When I did SNY and I did WFAN, I loved it. I loved every single second of it and that’s how I grew up and my passion for New York sports. But, I always had the thirst and the quest to go into bigger topics. The way the NFL is king now, talking about every topic and every game that matters on a football Monday or previewing the games on a football Friday. I love talking national sports and being like a Picasso and having that ability to paint and go in any different direction.
There’s nothing that’s forced or fake. I’ve always cared about national sports and national issues and watching random NBA games or college basketball games but the big picture topics and big picture issues, especially with the NFL and baseball, so I love it. I’ve always wanted to do it. When I had that opportunity to go “national” with SiriusXM and Steve Cohen in 2004, I jumped at that opportunity.
I’ve been at SiriusXM for 18 glorious years and been at CBS Sports for 11 years and we’ve been hosting Time To Schein since 2015. Frankly, I consider both places unbelievable places to work with great support staff and unbelievable producers and great management and great ambiance and just great cultures…I love it. I generally do.
I don’t miss daily New York sports at all. Obviously, there’s been opportunities in the past to go back and do things in local radio. I genuinely love having that national platform.
BSM: How have you seen That Other Pregame Show evolve from when you started that show to now?
AS: I think everybody knows the power of the show. Everyone knows CBS Sports Network. I think that the creativity, we have an unbelievable staff in terms of our wonderful producer, Deb Gelman. Being with Kyle Long on an NFL Sunday or pregame show is an absolute treat. He is such a wonderful addition to the show. Thomas Davis has added incredible juice, Jonathan Jones is superb, and obviously Amy Trask is outstanding, has been with us since Day 1. The remote reports with all of the NFL on CBS game analysts and The NFL Today guys look forward to coming over. Really great segments with Coach Cowher and Boomer and my guy Phil Simms and Nate and there’s just great chemistry and a fun quotient and unpredictability and it’s really just a joy to do that show every single Sunday.
Being the host on an NFL pregame show and having the power and the backing of CBS Sports and the NFL on CBS, it’s really just a wonderful, wonderful seat to sit in a great show. The chemistry that we have with everybody on and off air is just incredible.
BSM: In your roles as the TOPS host and the NFL Monday QB host, how much do you enjoy helping former players start that next chapter as broadcasters and do you take on a mentorship role for them when you first start working with them?
AS: That’s one of the things I pride myself on. When you do a daily show or radio show, it’s about you, it’s about me. When you are a host, it’s about the team and I’m a big believer in maximizing my analysts and what makes them tick. When I tee up a topic with an opinion in it, it’s not self-serving, it’s to make them better so they can take the ball and run with it. I know they’ll have a great opinion on Justin Fields, whether it’s positive or negative or whatever it turns out to be. I love sitting down with Kyle Long or sitting down with Thomas Davis and finding out what makes them tick. Jonathan Jones has been such a great addition to our coverage and our team on our different shows.
I love that it’s fun, you get to know everybody and what makes them go and their strengths and I love being the maestro and the quarterback and being the team leader. I pride myself in that, putting these guys in no pun intended, a position to shine. When they get props and accolades and they are rocking and rolling, it’s such an amazing feeling as a host, as a co-worker, and a friend, and I absolutely love it.
BSM: When did you decide you wanted to host your own podcast and how have you enjoyed doing them?
AS: I am obsessed with the podcast. The origin of the podcast was when we were negotiating our last deal and they were talking to me about different value and different things and it was alright, let’s do a podcast. That sounds great. We were doing it and it was going well and it was only during football season. Now, I’m just obsessed with it.
I always wanted to do interviews on TV. I love doing interviews. When I was working for SNY, I used to do player interviews for the Jets on a weekly offseason show and in-season show, Jets Nation. I love the longer form interview and diving deep into people that I like and that I think are excellent in their industry whether it’s athletes or broadcasters or actors who are sports fans.
I’m different. You’re listening to the radio five days a week, you watch me on television 5 days a week, 6 days during the football season. The podcast has to be different because you’re already consuming Adam Schein on radio and on television. The interview was a great way to deep dive. It’s not X’s and O’s based. The intros are different and they are a lot of fun and it’s not hitting people over the head like I do on radio with a sizzling, piping hot sports monologue and then on radio, it’s take, take, take.
I talk a lot of personal life and my kids and my wife and coaching my kids’ sports and watching them grow up and going out for dinner and our daily fantasy league and texts from my dad, which is a fun segment because people ask me where I get my personality from. It’s clearly from my father.
I love doing it. I love our producer, Bob Stew, who is our radio producer. He’s with me, I’ll put him on-air with me, he’s great at that in terms of piggybacking on the podcast off of different things I’ll be talking about. We started doing it 2 years ago every week not just during football season. We made the switch to doing all sports on it as opposed to just football. I’m really excited about the future of it.
I have great support from SiriusXM and from the podcast department at SiriusXM and now with the merger with Pandora and Stitcher, it’s just natural, I love it. To be able to have a podcast in-addition to the radio and TV show, it’s honestly a dream. Like the Mike Greenberg interview we did, I couldn’t do that or wouldn’t do that on radio or TV. The Ralph Macchio interview I did, the Colin Hanks interview I did talking to him about sports. I love how you can dive deep in a different fashion and it’s very different from the radio show and the TV show, which is why I think it really has translated and why it resonates.
BSM: What do you remember most about working with Chris Carlin on Loud Mouths on SNY?
AS: I loved working with Carlin. We had great chemistry. We had a ton of fun doing that show every weekday from March 2008 thru July 2015. Carlin and I still are friends. There was a natural chemistry we started, we didn’t have to work on that. He’s such a great guy. We might not have the same takes in sports, but we see what a TV and radio show should look like. We had an unbelievable producer, Will Folger, who is now at the MLB Network.
Our boss, Brad Como, who hired me was one of the producers at I,Max, Max Kellerman’s show, and he brought me to satellite. Brad was at ESPN with Around The Horn and PTI, so he knew what a debate show should look like. We had an unbelievable run there.
Our associate producer, Alison Cohen, she came with me to CBS and she was my producer on Time To Schein. She’s now the coordinating producer for all the daily shows on CBS Sports Network.
I love Carlin, we had so much fun. I mean great memories screaming at each other about Brian Cashman and the Yankees and the Jets. It was a lot of fun and great people that we worked with on our crew and with Brad and everybody involved at SNY. That was a lot of fun to do everyday for a long time.
BSM: Do you feel you are the same broadcaster from when you started your career to now? What been the evolution of Adam Schein, the on-air personality?
AS: I think that in terms of preparation, in terms of knowing what works, how to do it, how to evolve. I’m comfortable in a good way, not resting on laurels, but I don’t stress the structure. It’s an awesome agita because you’re only as good as your next show and then the preparation and then what tomorrow’s show going to look like? That’s how I view my nights as awesome agita.
In terms of confidence with my great team, Bob Stew an incredible producer for radio, my guy Malcolm Coleman with Alison Cohen on Time To Schein, the podcast, everyone I work with on Monday QB and TOPS, being around great people is a part of it. I think there’s a calm going into it because you know the preparation is there, the fun quotient is off the charts. In a lot of ways, that kind of stuff has never changed.
I’ve always been about preparation, fun on the air, fun off the air. I just think it’s confidence with experience. That’s probably the best way to phrase it.
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Shan and RJ Question If Tony Romo Is Purposely Using Innuendos
“You can’t say ‘size matters’ and not giggle a little.”
NFL on CBS lead analyst Tony Romo has long been revered for his ability to call out plays before they happen. Shan and RJ on 105.3 The Fan believe Romo should be revered for his ability to slip in sexual innuendos into the broadcast, and then questioned whether it was intentional.
After playing a clip of Romo saying fans of Cowboys running back Tony Pollard can’t deny that “size matters” the show wondered if Romo was making sexual innuendos on purpose.
“Is he smiling on the inside? I don’t know what kind of dude he is,” Shan Shariff said.
“Dude, yes. You can’t say ‘size matters’ and not giggle a little,” RJ Choppy said.
The show continued by playing a clip of Romo saying a running back “squirts through the hole”.
“I don’t think he’s trying with that one,” Shan stated.
“There are certain words you should just try to avoid,” new show member Bobby Belt added. “Squirt is one of them. A few weeks back, I was on with Reggie (Adetula) and he was describing the Bears uniforms — their orange uniforms — and he said they’re creamy. As soon as he said it, I just thought ‘That’s a word you shouldn’t use’. He said he meant creamsicle, but there are just words you shouldn’t use, and I think Romo should add ‘squirts’ to that list.”
Later in the broadcast, Jim Nantz asked Romo if Pollard “can handle that heavy load”, which Romo replied “I think he can handle that heavy load, Jim, just like you”.
After audible gasps and laughs, Shariff, Choppy, and Belt was certain it was purposeful.