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…