ESPN Audio has completely and utterly overhauled their lineup of weekend radio shows, launching eight new programs featuring a diverse array of talent.
Of the 13 weekend shows airing, only four had existed prior to January 1st, which lets you know how much of a change of direction this is.
Saturday, 8 AM-12 PM: Dari & Mel. Existing show hosted by Dari Nowkhah and Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.
Saturday, 12 PM-2 PM: espnW Presents Spain & Prim on ESPN Radio. New show hosted by Sarah Spain of espnW and ESPN anchor Prim Siripipat.
Saturday, 2 PM-4 PM: Marty & McGee. New show that used to be a podcast, hosted by Marty Smith and Ryan McGee of ESPN.
Saturday, 4 PM-7 PM: Dave Rothenberg Show. New show hosted by long-time New York radio broadcaster Dave Rothenberg.
Saturday, 7 PM-11 PM: Dickerson & Hood. New show hosted by Jeff Dickerson and Jonathan Hood of ESPN Chicago.
Saturday: 11 PM-1 AM: Robin Lundberg. New show hosted by Robin Lundberg of ESPN New York.
Sunday, 7 AM-9 AM: The Ian O’Connor Show. Existing show hosted by ESPN New York’s Ian O’Connor.
Sunday, 9 AM-11 AM: Lupica. Existing show hosted by long-time New York columnist Mike Lupica.
Sunday, 11 AM-12 PM: NBA Lockdown. New show hosted by ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez and Kara Lawson.
Sunday, 12 PM-3 PM: Coachman and Bretos. New show hosted by Jonathan Coachman and Max Bretos of ESPN.
Sunday, 3 PM-7 PM: Ian Fitzsimmons. New show hosted by Ian Fitzsimmons, ESPN Radio sideline reporter.
Sunday, 7 PM-10 PM: NBA Lockdown: Insiders. New show that will serve as an extension to the earlier NBA Lockdown, spotlighting Amin Elhassan, Marc Stein, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
Sunday, 10 PM-1 AM: V Show with Bob Valvano. Existing show hosted by ESPN Radio’s Bob Valvano.
One thing that immediately jumps out at me – despite the various interesting names we’re seeing as hosts, there is a lot of New York bias here. Rothenburg, Lundberg, O’Connor, and Lupica are all based out of New York. Each of those four hosts has their own show, and while Lupica’s show is the only one that specifically mentions New York sports in the description, you have to assume that the other three will also have more of a focus there.
Aside from that, it looks like a step in the right direction to create some diversity among the programs getting aired. I also like the emphasis on some lesser known personalities in Bristol, like Bretos, Coachman, Gutierrez, and Lawson. You can’t create new stars without taking a chance on them, so giving them a shot to build a following is a good move.