ESPN To Radio Hosts: Stick To Management Script

Tuesday a book about ESPN, called Those Guys Have All The Fun, was released to the public. Co-Author Jim Miller, who was granted access to ESPN’s Bristol headquarters to conduct interviews with company employees for the book, hit the promotional media trail the same day to encourage sales of his 763-page work.


Those Tuesday appearances included stops on the national ESPN radio shows Mike and Mike In The Morning, The Scott Van Pelt Show and The Doug Gottlieb Show.

Though the book includes a minumum of negative material involving anyone at ESPN not already known for notorious behavior, it may have come as a surprise to some that ESPN would promote even a quasi-controversial endeavor about the company to its national audience.

Though from what I was told this week about the circumstances of Miller’s radio appearances that day, ESPN management did everything in its power to control what was asked of the author by the hosts of the shows.

When Miller was booked on the shows two weeks ago, ESPN management took the highly unusual step of drawing up talking points, in the form of six questions, that it highly encouraged on-air hosts adhere to while interviewing Miller.

Along with those talking points, ESPN management asked some of those involved in each show to make sure the word “dominate” was not used while engaging Miller on the air.

Needless to say, some of those involved in each show weren’t exactly overjoyed at the idea. In the case of Van Pelt and Russillo, I was told they flatly refused to entertain ESPN management’s suggested questions.

Thursday I went back and listened to all three interviews, and what I heard did little to dispute the notion that ESPN management did in fact attempt to control what was asked of ESPN book author Miller.

The first question of each interview is particularly striking, considering it was the same query in all three cases.

To paraphrase, Miller was asked, “Why ESPN?

From there, the interviews come off as - at best - perfunctory, with a noticeable lack of followup to Miller’s answers.

Miller was given a mere five minutes by Greenberg & Golic and Gottlieb while Miller’s audience with Van Pelt & Russillo lasted seven minutes.

None of that analysis is an indictment of any of those involved in the shows, on or off-air. If ESPN management saw fit to allow Miller to promote his book about ESPN over the company’s national radio airwaves, it had absolutely no business calling into question the professionalism of any of its on-air talent. (Which is what it did with the absurd talking points.)

If you ever wanted a material example of what monopoly wrought on an industry, the abject arrogance of ESPN executives in asserting editorial demands on its on-air talent is it.

UPDATE (4:42am PT): In lieu of the above revelation, a rather unfortunate quote from ESPN Network Senior VP/General Manager Mo Davenport from a post on radio-online.com this week touting the opening of the new ESPN radio studios on June 1:

“ESPN Radio consumers are no longer simply radio listeners. The June 1 festivities will celebrate our commitment to ensure that fans not only get their ESPN Radio content how they want it, but also when they want it, and where they want it.”

ESPN is a huge company with lots and lots of pot-tasters. In this particular case, the Gordon Ramsays involved did not come from the ranks of radio programming personnel.

Follow Brooks on Twitter or join him on Facebook for real-time updates

Cowherd Loses Hour, SVP & Gottlieb Cleared In LA

UPDATE (2:40p ET): ESPN VP of PR Josh Krulewitz in response to my report on ESPN Radio changes: “An announcement with details on future ESPN radio plans is upcoming.

Los Angeles radio industry sources confirmed to me this week that the daily radio shows of ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and Doug Gottlieb will soon be heard on the Angels-owned KLAA-AM (830am). KLAA, which was purchased by Arte Moreno to serve as the flagship radio outlet for the Angels, has a powerful daytime signal into Los Angeles.

Colin Cowherd radio show to lose one hour. Scott Van Pelt Doug Gottlieb radio shows going live in L.A.

As of now the changes, which have been in the works for months, are set to take effect in early April. The move also comes despite there already being an ESPN-owned station in the L.A. marketplace, KSPN-AM (710am).

As part of the change on the national ESPN radio front, Colin Cowherd’s morning show is being cut by one hour, from 7-10a PT. Van Pelt’s show is likely to increase to three hours, with it airing live in L.A. from 10a-1p PT and Gottlieb’s show remaining from 1p-4p PT.

Cowherd’s full show will continue to be broadcast weekdays on KSPN from 7a-10a PT. KSPN currently airs local programming from 11a-3p PT (LA Sports Live with Mychal Thompson & Andrew Siciliano) and 3p-7p PT (Steve Mason & John Ireland).

So why is ESPN launching its national radio shows into a market where it already airs local L.A. ESPN radio programming via KSPN?

Read more…

ESPN’s Biggest Loser: Berman, Golic Or Gottlieb?

If you watch cable television for more than three seconds a decade, you’ve seen the (unintentionally) uproarious Nutri-System ads featuring Chris Berman and Mike Golic (Pot Roast!!) that apparently target those in the market for immediate organ donation.

Doug Gottlieb P90X Chris Berman Mike Golic

(Dude has some stones to post these)

While worthless weight loss aids, the spots do present a compelling case study for the remarkable advancement of TV optics slimming technology, liberal Photoshop application and unforgiving abdominal binders.

Today I’m happy to report that thanks to an eagle-eyed reader, I’ve discovered another ESPN personality hawking a diet plan! This time, ESPN college basketball analyst and radio host Doug Gottlieb is weighing in with something called P90X. (Either that or he’s promoting a captcha code.)

Doug Gottlieb P90X Chris Berman Mike Golic

(Gottlieb should know by now he doesn’t need that to get ripped)

Unfortunately though, it appears Gottlieb has taken all the fun out of following faux fat loss products. From his photos, P90X might actually work. (Or else T.J. Quinn recently subpoenaed Gottlieb’s phone records for an upcoming OTL episode.)

Read more…

Tweep Cover: Top 10 Twitter No-Shows In Sports

As it’s such a valuable resource, I’m spending more and more time on Twitter. Tweeting has been a revelation for many athletes and media members in connecting with fans and sharing information in real time. A much more immediate vehicle that Facebook.

Todd McShay, Brian Kenny, Doug Gottlieb

While there’s a lot of new and old media members who have enthusiastically bought into the medium, there are many who curiously have not. Here’s a list of people who I would like to see Tweeting regularly. For all I know, many of those listed have Twitter accounts that aren’t public or have accounts that are essentially idle. Or perhaps I’m actually missing someone. If I am, leave in the comments.

1a) Todd McShay: I’ve got ESPN muted most days, but the sound goes on when McShay appears. He’s one of the few media personalities who consistently tells you something you don’t already know. Mad homework and we’re the beneficiaries. From the way he funs people on-air, he’d light it up on Twitter.

1b) Doug Gottlieb*: Another homework guy who always has college hoops nuggets you get nowhere else. Since I rarely watch college hoops, great catch-up guy to watch. General sports talk host on ESPN Radio and consistently says stuff I can’t believe corporate lets him get away with. Probably the loosest cannon in Bristol. Anyone who drops a “game blouses” while doing a game is automatically on the list.

1c) Brian Kenny: Solid when anchoring but radio show allows him to bring the knowledge you can’t get from the prompter. Best interviewer currently on radio. Asks a pointed question and gets out of the way. (Doesn’t answer question he’s asking!) Voice of reason in the insanity of the boxing world. If I’m driving back from Vegas, he’s the podcast.

4) Matt Vasgersian: I know him well from my baseball broadcasting days. Killer natural sense of humor that gets dumbed-down by MLB Network. He could let that out on Twitter. He’s much more than just a sports guy, but the only place most people know him is when he’s hemmed in by a sports broadcast. He needs to eventually do something professionally that isn’t sports. Funny dude.

5) Jared Allen: Only athlete on the list. Best video pieces from an athlete I’ve ever seen. Has both over-the-top and subtle sense of humor. Doesn’t have a big ego or have every move that he makes mapped by a marketer. (Ochocinco, LeBron, etc.)

Read more…

Deion: Oklahoma St. Asked Him To Mentor Bryant!

Deion Sanders comes out of hiding today to talk to Thayer Evans of the NEW YORK TIMES about his role in Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant getting suspended by the school.

Mike Gundy Dez Bryant Deion Sanders

Sanders, contrary to what ESPN Radio host (and former Oklahoma State basketball player) Doug Gottlieb said today on-air, claimed to Evans that Okie State coaches asked him to mentor Bryant! Gottlieb said he was told by the same coaches that Sanders spirited Bryant away from them and was providing unsolicited career advice.

Sanders said he was asked two years ago to mentor Bryant because of Bryant’s difficult past; his mother served time in prison on a drug-sale conviction.

Sanders said that before he started mentoring Bryant, he called Oklahoma State’s receivers coach to ensure that it was O.K.

“When Dez is late to class, the coach calls me,” Sanders said. “When Dez doesn’t show up for this, the coach calls me.”

Sadly, we get no response to Sanders’ comments from Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. Read more…

Week In Review: Super Bowl Viewers See Boner

• Super Bowl viewers in Tucson were treated to a 30-second clip of some guy’s schlong. And for those who are curious, here’s what they saw.

Larry Fitzgerald Super Bowl porn girl

• That pornographic interruption was probably more fun than actually going to a Super Bowl party.

• Should Erin Andrews and other female sports reporters get the chance to graduate from the sidelines to the broadcast booth?

• The USOC is seething over a strip club hosting its own “Pole Olympics“.

Read more…

Player’s Dad Wants Apology From ESPNer Gottlieb

This week I received an email from the father of Nebraska basketball player Cookie Miller. Miller’s dad, who signed the correspondence “Big Cookie”, is demanding an apology from ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb for a comment he made about Miller during ESPN2’s recent Kansas-Nebraska basketball telecast.

Cookie Miller Doug Gottlieb

After a scrum for a loose ball, Gottlieb said of Miller, “He’s acting like a punk.”

Should Doug Gottlieb apologize for saying Cookie Miller was “acting like a punk”?

View Results

Big Cookie’s email and video of the incident after the jump.  Read more…

ESPN Radio Change: More Cowherd, Less Van Pelt

I started SbB in 2001 because was I was bored working in the sports talk radio biz.  I couldn’t take being hemmed in by the daily local yocal game analysis, pushover interviews, formulaic guy talk, and same ol’ fallback topics on slow days. So I created SbB to escape that noxious environment, if only for my own amusement.

Scott Van Pelt Mike Tirico

(Van Pelt’s solo show, rusty folding chair, left out in the cold)

Today if you listen to Dan Le Batard’s radio show in Miami, and plenty of others, you hear sports talk radio going in the direction of what I’ve been onto for years: Giving the visitor breaking information accented by clever commentary. That now-burgeoning trend in radio now has trained me back to the medium. And with that, I was very interested when ESPN announced changes in its national radio schedule this week.

First the good news (no, they didn’t blow out Mike & Mike): Beginning on March 16, Brian Kenny is getting a daily show, from 8-10p ET weeknights. Kenny has been the most underrated sports personality on the network for over a decade (sorry Sal Pal!), and it’s nice to see him get some recognition. I’m guessing he’ll be great listen, but those of us in L.A. will have to catch Kenny on the web, as his show will likely be covered by KSPN-AM in afternoon drive. (By my guys Mason & Ireland?)

Another underrated talent and the best radio talk host ESPN has, Doug Gottlieb, is moving his show to 4-7p ET.  Colin Cowherd, who in my estimation is the most overrated host on the net, will get another hour tacked on to his midday show (10a-2p ET). So those of you wondering about the day’s produce selection at Wegmann’s and/or menu specials at your friendly neighborhood Fleming’s, have at it.

Colin Cowherd

(Miracle! Despite disabling TMJ attack, Cowherd still menaces radio audience)

Those time changes mean the show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt will move to 2-4p ET, with the one-hour Van Pelt solo show now a memory.

So why the elimination of Van Pelt’s show? Read more…

Brog: Will Chargers’ Chambers’ Sick Vid Go Viral?

Jorge Sedano of Miami’s 790 The Ticket has your catch o’ the day:

Chris Chambers Viral NFL Commercial With Crazy Catches

Chargers wideout Chris Chambers making some sick grabs that may or may not have been digitally enhanced. I actually think not.

Went to the Maddenpalooza thing last night at the Rose Bowl. As I sit here today, I’m still wondering why the event was staged by now-faltering EA Sports. Was the evening designed to be a media event? Was it to move product? Was it to create a lively, fun environment for attendees?

From what I observed, that would be no, no and no.

Brooks Maddenpalooza

(Need to lose some lbs., so I don’t cover up that one guy - see armpit)

I went early evening, and there was less than a thousand people milling around Slick Rick’s spacious abode at that time. Musicial artists Busta Rhymes and Good Charlotte played to about 200 people on one side of the stadium turf, while a tent full of Madden-loaded plasmas sat empty beyond the opposite endzone.

Maddenpalooza NO PHOTOS!

(How to create a fun, fan-friendly environment!)

But of course, as someone who occasionally attends UCLA football games which don’t include a certain Cardinal & Gold opponent, that hollow, placid environment is nothing new for the Rose Bowl. So I felt right at home.

Busta Rhymes Maddenpalooza

(Busta Rhymes is in there …. somewhere)

Here on the westside of Los Angeles, I pass by EA Sports’ gleaming, half-empty HQs all the time. You wonder if last night’s flaccid activities are symptomatic of larger problems inside the company. Based on the sagging pre-sale of the company’s flagship product, perhaps they are.

Maddenpalooza Guerilla Marketing The Blitz

(Guerrilla Marketing at Maddenpalooza?)

More coverage of the event from Mike Tunison at DEADSPIN, who actually had the audacity to *shudder* take a photo of Warren Sapp.

Read more…

Brog: What About Kimbo Slice’s Nissan Sentra?

Found via the forum at Tripadvisor.com, a map of where some celebrities live in Miami:

Celeb Map Miami

(Map link - look at bottom of second forum response)

I’m also a little perplexed that Kimbo Slice’s Nissan Sentra parked outside the Dairy Queen on Alton Road isn’t push-pinned (if you’re one of the last living souls unaware that he lived in his car, we apologize).

Also, will someone, ANYONE give props to Dan Le Batard? Forget Youtube, he’s the man who manufactured and served up Kimbo Slice to the main media as legitimate (that means you, Kevin Iole).

Martin Rogers of YAHOO SPORTS reports on a crisis facing the tranny-owned Houston MLS franchise: Too many white players!

Team owner Oscar De La Hoya: “Right now, the majority of our players are Caucasian. We are looking at different options to bring in the best players from Mexico because of Houston having such a large Latino population. We want to maybe bring in a couple of players from Mexico and mix it up a little.

Saw this in a Fark.com thread on the cradle-robbing practices of the New England Patriots.

Cheerleader Photo Fake or Real?

Fake or real? I’m guessing real.

I added that “Brooks” navigation box to the front page (top left) of the site today. Quick links to my posts, and a map where you can effectively stalk track my every move.

In case you haven’t figured it out, my new “Brog” is essentially some of my own personal observos about sports, with some stuff about the SbB site and my life thrown in. I’ve found that there were a lot of sports items that were slipping through the cracks. And I also wanted to have a place where you could find out what some of the future plans for the site were - and get reader feedback.

Speaking of SbB plans, I’m seriously considering putting out calendars of the SbB Girls in time for Christmas. I’m thinking we’d do 2-3 of them, with individual girls getting their own calendars.

Who are the girls I should consider? I have a pretty good idea, but let me know your feedback.

Or maybe I’ll just do a Kansas City-themed calendar!

ANYSSA IN KANSAS CITY

Uh, anyone?

I may also do some SbB merch (shirts, hats) and other stuff you can buy. Like wallpapers of the SbB Girls. We have a store setup thing that we’re working on. For .99 cents on Paypal, you can buy a single wallpaper. We may also sell credits. Once you purchase the wallpaper, an email link is sent to you so you can download it.

I have millions of photos you haven’t seen, so that sounds like a good use for some of them. FYI: I also have shoots coming up in the next two months with three new SbB Girls - stay tuned. The first shoot is in mid-June. Read more…