Monday, May 1, 2017

The ESPN Cuts and Radio

I mostly write about music. And that's why you read this blog. But today I'm going to write about something only tangentially related to music.

As a sports fan, I'm well aware of the cuts that were made by ESPN last week. A lot of good people were let go. All people in sports media were touched in some way or another by the cuts. I'm not going to get into any of the reasons or perceived reasons behind the cuts. There are more than enough articles out there that can explain it better than I. What I want to talk about is the radio aspect of the cuts.

I listen to a lot of ESPN's radio programming (mostly through podcasts). When you spend an hour and 45 minutes (pod time, three hours real time) with someone everyday, they become familiar, almost like you know them.

Ryen Russillo was on vacation when the cuts happened. One of the cuts was his radio partner, Danny Kanell. Russillo addressed this on his radio show today (5/1/17). One of the things that hit me was when he said that radio is more intimate. Now, he was speaking specifically to his work relationship in which he would spend four to five hours a day, five days a week with his co-host. But this also extends to the listeners.

I had a brief Twitter exchange with Sarah Spain after one of her co-hosts on The Trifecta, Jane McManus, was a victim of the cuts, about the intimacy that radio provides. She agreed that it doesn't happen with TV or print. Radio is different. It's more personal.

Scott Van Pelt is great. I catch his late night SportsCenter from time to time. I miss him on the radio when it was the SVP and Russillo show. That show coincidentally, really got me hooked on the intimacy of radio. It became familiar and if one listened long enough, the inside jokes became inside jokes that you get.

The best radio not only lets you get a piece of the hosts' lives, but also introduces a cast of characters that make the show seem even more intimate. When the producers and board ops are given an occasional voice, or become a part of the show, it makes it feel almost familial.

I first got in tune with the ensemble dynamic listening to SVP and Russillo with Stanford Steve, Quinnipiac Steve and Outsider Mike (now best known as Mikey C). Then I found the Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz and the shipping container. Music snob/producer Mike Ryan is doing his own show with music rejoins. Each member has their own role.

i don't have the same connection with the reporters and SportsCenter hit people. I don't wish for anyone to lose their job, but the radio people hit me more than others.

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