Industry News

TALKERS News Notes

As reported by Erich Richter in the New York Post, ESPN and SiriusXM sports media personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo admits to losing somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 in a five-leg parlay on NFL football last weekend. Russo and fellow ESPN personalities Molly Qerim, Marcus Spears, and Stephen A. Smith on “First Take” on November 29. Read the Post piece here.

SiriusXM and Major League Baseball announce today a five-year extension of their broadcasting agreement. SiriusXM has teamed up with MLB to deliver games to fans around the country since 2005 and will continue to air live play-by-play of every regular season and postseason MLB game, as well as select spring training and Spanish-language game broadcasts, through the 2028 season. SiriusXM will also continue to produce the exclusive MLB Network Radio channel.

Industry Views

Pending Business: Shorter and Faster is Better

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

Looks like Major League Baseball is about to show the radio business how to score the winning run. Major League Baseball decided it was time to reverse the aging fan base, declining gameday gates, and shorten three-plus-hours of in-game boredom.

Despite the downhome storytellers doing play-by-play on radio and innovations of TV coverage, the game was getting tedious, and it was time for Major League Baseball to change or slowly but surely face the fate of the dinosaur.

Sound familiar? Yes, there are some baseball innovations that entertained people like the infamous mascots of yesteryear, but MLB is about the hallowed Hall of Fame heritage of pinstripes, red socks, and Dodger blue. Change means risk and in baseball swinging for the fences is a 1 in 18 shot.

Getting a little too close for comfort? Fans and sponsors needed a new spark to ignite baseball fever, so MLB responded with a pitch clock to speed up the game and bigger bases to bring back one of the most exciting plays in sports. Guess what? Games are being played faster, gameday attendance is up 8%, TV viewership is up 14% and according to the Insider, social media views are up 67% as under-35 demographics are up 14%. Let us start connecting the dots to our business.

— News/talk radio relies on a 55+ audience. Nothing wrong with the “money demo.” But talk radio needs to look ahead to what happens AFTER the election cycle.

— Most daily talk shows are three hours long. So were most MLB games… until this year. Shorter became better as attendance and viewership shot up. Wake up radio programmers, hosts, managers! Do we have the courage and budget to program and sell shorter, faster moving programs? Radio is so stuck in an outdated model; the low growth is about to make another appearance in bankruptcy court.

— Fans got excited and social media exploded. Last time I checked, Savannah, Georgia was Nielsen radio market #145. No news/talk radio station in the top 100 U.S. radio markets has as many Facebook followers as the Savannah Bananas baseball team.

— Fans and sponsors needed a new spark. What has your radio station offered lately that is new, exciting and lights the fuse for sponsors and listeners?

Recently, a 21-year-old baseball star stole two bases then decided to steal home and the fans went crazy. Through the years we have seen the play. But every time it happens the fans in the stands are on their feet, cheering, high fiving, and re-living every detail of the excitement. Baseball is back, bigger and better than ever. All of us can learn from today’s changes in America’s Pastime.

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at:

Industry News

White Sox Pitcher Threatens Audacy’s “670 The Score”

In a story being reported by numerous sources, including by FOX News here, Chicago White Sox pitcher Mike Clevinger – who is being investigated by Major League Baseball after allegations of domestic abuse – is threatening legal action against Audacy’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score” after his accuserGraphics - Logo appeared on the “Parkins & Spiegel” show. Olivia Finestead is the mother of Clevinger’s 10-month-old who went on the radio show to discuss the allegations against Clevinger, a move he called “really trashy of them. That was some lowlife material right there.” He was also quoted saying, “My lawyers are paying attention. My lawyers are getting in contact with them, and they probably already sent a cease-and-desist for defamation. So [they] just got themselves involved in this, too, so good for them.”