I didn't listen to a lot of sports talk radio prior to 2006, but one of the first shows I followed regularly was "The Herd" on ESPN Radio. As a Meals on Wheels volunteer, I found myself in my car for most of the duration of Colin Cowherd's weekday program. He brings a rather unique perspective and style to sports commentary that I still enjoy to this day, especially since I attempt to look at sports a bit differently in this blog. Following the departure of Bill Simmons and the planned separation of Keith Olbermann in July, ESPN will have lost at least three outspoken voices in a short period of time. Dan Patrick, who left many years ago to launch his own show that is now airs on NBCSports, competes with "The Herd", but without the benefit of ESPN's power. It's been widely speculated that Cowherd, whose contract expires later this year, is headed to Fox Sports after reaching a yet unannounced deal that would be a good bit richer than what ESPN was prepared to pay. Does this represent a shift in programming for ESPN or simply a case where someone is prepared to profit from the notoriety the network made possible for Cowherd to enjoy? Mike and Mike is still the stalwart for ESPN Radio's daily lineup, but the rest of the day is continuing to undergo changes. Scott Van Pelt, who followed "The Herd", is in the process of developing a late night offering for ESPN and his long time partner, Ryan Rusillo, has taken over the spot. Following Rusillo is Dan Lebatard, another outspoken and sometimes unorthodox host who I don't believe will have a long tenure at the network, unless they tap him to move into "The Herd's" time slot. Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge Colin Cowherd a dime. At age 51, this is probably the right time for him to cash in on his name and his style. I just wonder where ESPN is heading with their daily sports talk lineup and if they can, with the power that they wield, develop another strong personality to attract and retain listeners in what is fast becoming a crowded genre.
Don't forget to check out my new book, "Roughing the Passer - A PK
Frazier Novel" and my first, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel",
available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and Smashwords. The third installment, "Offsetting Penalties" is due out in the fall.