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Thoughts on New ESPN Radio Lineup

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ESPN announced its revamped radio lineup today:

Keyshawn, Jay, and Zubin — 6:00 – 10:00 a.m.

The Dan Le Batard Show — 10 – 12 p.m.

The Mike Greenberg Show 12 – 2 p.m.

The Max Kellerman Show — 2 – 4 p.m.

Chiney and Golic Jr. — 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Spain and Fitz  — 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Coleman and Fitzsimmons — 9:00 p.m. 1:00 a.m.

Here are my thoughts:

Overall, this is a downgraded lineup. Not appealing, with a lot of risks. Radio is the hardest medium to transition to. Taking TV talents to radio usually doesn’t work. That’s mostly what happened here.

The morning show is an odd pairing. We’ve been reporting for a month Keyshawn Johnson would likely get this job. But the pairing is lackluster. ESPN had considered other candidates such as Jalen Rose and David Jacoby. That would’ve been a far better fit. Johnson should do well in this role, but most listening in the morning will be unfamiliar with Zubin Mehenti. Jay Williams is far too opinionated and over the top for a morning show.

Moving off Mike Golic is going to be much more detrimental to ESPN than it realizes. He’s known among all fan bases, is likable, and relatable. The last two are underrated values that are key to radio success.

As I’ve said before, ESPN isn’t going to be able to replace the success of the Will Cain Show in the afternoon. Chiney Ogwumike and Mike Golic Jr. have a hard task in front of them to avoid losing the growth ESPN has had in this time slot the past two years. Though, it will run from 4-7 as opposed to 3-6.

The positive news comes from the additions of Mike Greenberg and Max Kellerman. Outkick reported Greenberg has been close to agreeing to this deal. He’s a big name that did radio at a high-level for nearly two decades. The two hours he is hosting, taking one away from Le Batard, are upgrading.

Le Batard’s show doesn’t rate on terrestrial radio and should be moved to a digital-only platform. Keeping this show in the lineup is a mistake.

Like Greenberg, Kellerman is one of ESPN’s biggest stars. Kellerman, too, has a long history of success on the medium. Kellerman, who had talks with ESPN about morning radio, is better solo than he is with Stephen A. Smith.

Fitz and Spain hosted together before. Fitz is a talented radio broadcaster, but Spain has struggled with her show since launch. Fitz would’ve been a better option as the host in the mornings.

The late show with Coleman and Fitzsimmons doesn’t get attention, but the two work together. Coleman is a versatile radio host with an enjoyable style.

All in all, ESPN did not close the gap between Fox Sports Radio. It also fell behind Mad Dog Radio, which now has the clear-cut best afternoon show, and Barstool Radio in several time slots. 

In disclosure, Clay Travis is an on-air talent for FOX Sports Radio

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

11 Comments

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  1. Kellerman and Greenberg together would be the first TV show ever with nothing in it. Sorry Jerry Seinfeld.

    Kellerman reminds me of the ultimate momma’s boy. He sounds like a tough New Yorker and he is Really into boxing, but he is weak and liberal. Kellerman vs Whitlock or Clay Travis would be a show to watch.

    Mike Greenberg is the ultimate shadow personality. He has nothing. And he is not interesting or appealing unless you are from Queens or Long Island, NY. they pay him millions of $$ and think that makes him Chris Berman?

    In fact, They inserted him into some of their 30 for 30 and other docudrama’s on athletes as if he is an opinion maker or something. Likely designed to elevate his persona to a talented level.

    Mike Greenberg is the Ben Afleck of TV sports. Afleck is the most overrated ‘actor’ in the history of history. Greenberg is to sports media what Afleck is to uh … movies.

    Who is ever gonna watch or listen to EsPn for sports with this lineup? How long until Fox Sports and NBC and others do the same lineups?

    They just don’t get it. Do ratings even matter anymore?

    (Sell your Disney stock. When their revenue figures come out … in the negative $billions for the first half of 2020, everyone at ESPN is gone. Except this lineup.)

  2. The Dan Le Petard show is childish nonsense. The only highlight on the list, for me, is Freddie Coleman. He should be bumped up in the order.

  3. Bobby Burack is such a tremendous radio talent evaluator that he is far, far better than the clowns at Awful Announcing (another arm of the Woke Media) and Richard Deitsch, because he knows what sports fan and sports radio listeners want and respond to (and probably the types of ads they respond to as well). This analysis is much closer to Jason Barrett’s sports media blog and analysis than the biased reporting at the media analysis from AA and the Athletics.

    The only disagreement I have here is on Mike Greenberg. Honestly has this guy ever said anything remotely interesting or controversial or thought provoking. When he was anchoring at a sports news desk in Chicago in the 90s, it was unmistakable that he was a great talent at traditional news anchoring. So he is good at being sort of a puppet for introducing and interviewing guests like Roger Goodell, David Stern, and that sorts of things if you are interested (what he had essentially been doing for over a decade at Mike & Mike). But as for thoughtful and meaningful conversations and engagement? Not so much and his “Get Up” has been nothing but disastrous (save for the fact that is still one platform every morning some sports fan gets to by the virtue of the fact that it is on ESPN). Way overpaid as Clay had alluded to previously.

    • Greenie seems like a point guard who prefers to give up the ball…all the time. Never takes it to the hole himself. That role has some value on Get Up, but what will happen on radio when he looks left, looks right, and there’s nobody to feed. How will his noon radio slot affect his tv prep? Time will tell.

  4. Mike and Mike were a highly successful team. Feel bad for Golic the way they left him out to dry like this after twenty years of solid work in morning radio.

    But Fox Sports Radio is continuing to roll.

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