Thanks to Cowherd, sports radio’s landscape could begin to drastically change


Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the latest sports news in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @AkiemBailum.

As an avid follower of the radio industry, I especially take notice when the realms of sports and radio collide—as they often do.

Throughout the industry, much of the chatter pertained to the sports realm as both Fox Sports and Colin Cowherd announced the two sides have agreed to a deal where he will be seen on many of its sports properties.

In addition to appearances on Fox Sports’ college football and NFL coverage, he’ll also be at the helm of a radio show that will air from 12 noon to 3 p.m.—with an upcoming television simulcast on Fox Sports One.

Now that the concrete layers of such a deal are known to everyone, I thought about this deal and dissected it so many times my dissections must have put this deal in about a million different perspectives.

But, obviously, that is too long for any column so I’ll try to keep it shorter and sweeter than that, Realists.

The first part of the deal that struck me was the 12 noon to 3 p.m. timeslot Cowherd will occupy on Fox Sports Radio. FSR’s lineup currently has Dan Patrick and his syndicated show in the 9 a.m. to 12 noon spot. Meaning he’ll be Cowherd’s lead-in.

This is significant for two specific reasons. Firstly, it’s a role reversal from both Cowherd and Patrick’s tenure at ESPN. Approximately a decade ago, “The Herd” aired at 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. after Mike and Mike, and was the lead-in to Dan Patrick—whose show aired from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. while at ESPN Radio. Now, his show will play in to Cowherd’s at 12 noon to 3 p.m.

In addition—Cowherd and Patrick were once in a well-publicized on-air feud in which the former accused the latter of not working hard and needing “35 producers” to produce a segment—in comparison to himself and Jim Rome.

DP shot back by challenging Cowherd to leave ESPN and see if he would have the same success without being an offshoot of the Bristol brand. Well—Cowherd has done just that, only he will be on Fox Sports Radio in the show immediately following Patrick’s.

What is also interesting is while Cowherd will air at the 12-3 slot on FSR, it already has another show on at 12-3 on Fox.

Rich Eisen’s show also has a television simulcast on DirecTV and also has a deal to distribute his show through FSR and Premiere Radio Networks (as does Patrick). The radio outlet is saying that decision will be left up to individual stations on if they plan to carry either Eisen’s show (which already has racked up affiliates aplenty) or air Cowherd.

Thanks to some of Eisen’s deals with affiliates already, they may not have much of a choice but to air Cowherd but that is something we will definitely see play out in the future after his show debuts on FSR.

This brings me back to when Jim Rome’s show was carried via Premiere Radio Networks.

Fox Sports Radio is an arm of iHeartMedia—the largest radio station owner and operator in the United States. Premiere Radio is an arm of iHeartMedia. Rome aired from 12-3 while at Premiere before he moved his show to CBS Sports Radio.

FSR’s lineup at the time aired a replay of an earlier morning show at 12 noon to 3 p.m. This was done so its own iHeart sports stations ensured Rome would be on their stations. He wasn’t officially on the Fox Sports Radio lineup, but Fox Sports Radio’s lineup was taylor-made to ensure its owned & operated stations would carry him.

Plus, given how controversial Cowherd can be—there are probably radio stations as we speak that are lining up to carry his show over Eisen’s (this coming from someone who is a fan of his on NFL Network).

The last bit of analysis to get into for now is the television simulcast on Fox Sports One. Cowherd’s simulcast will bump WFAN’s “Sports Pope” Mike Francesa to Fox Sports Two.

Plus, whenever Fox Sports One is airing soccer coverage, Francesa will be bumped altogether as Cowherd will be on FS2.

It is more proof Francesa is probably none-too-pleased with the status of his time at “The One” any more than he is pleased with being on WFAN—as evidenced by him getting into on-air spats with personalities at CBS Sports Radio (WFAN itself is owned and operated by CBS).

Many are hoping Francesa’s problems at The Fan translates in a reunion of Mike & the Mad Dog (Chris Russo). If it happens, it will likely be at Sirius XM where Russo currently hosts a show and runs a channel.

With all of the changes in sports talk radio that are happening and could happen in the future, “long-time listeners, first-time callers” will have a heck of a time finding where their favorite shows are and what time they hit the mikes.

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