On Thursday, Clay Travis tweeted that Bomani Jones’ radio show had been cancelled “because he’s lost over 90 affiliates & has worst ratings in ESPN radio history.”  Travis would also add in a follow-up tweet that “ESPN will spin it as him quitting to focus on TV. But this isn’t true. Radio show’s a total disaster, like most of ESPN‘s recent decisions.”

While there is some uncertainty about the future of Jones’ 4-7 PM ET show, we’re told no decision has been made or is close and that it was Jones who actually initiated the discussion of vacating his ESPN radio time slot. While Travis alluded to Bristol looking to spin this as a move tied to the upcoming debut of Jones’ new TV show with Pablo Torre, we’re told that even without the show’s imminent debut, Jones would’ve looked to explore options to vacate his radio show. Particularly, Jones had expressed interest in transitioning to some type of digital-only format, something that ESPN was interested in exploring but had yet to substantively explore yet.

The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel tweeted similar information:

We were unable to get much confirmation on his show’s numbers, but one source suggested that although numbers for Jones show have been trending down, ESPN Radio as a whole has been downward trending for the past year plus. Another source said Jones’ numbers are actually holding better than the rest of the lineup across radio and especially digital. We’d love to update our post with any third-party reporting metrics, should you have access to such reporting.

While Jones’ 4-7 ET time slot with ESPN radio on the outside looks attractive, the reality is that the vast majority of major markets produce their own drive time programming which either relegates the show to smaller markets or second or third-tier radio stations in the larger markets. With those factors hard to overcome for Jones or anyone put in that time slot, Jones proactively sought to explore possibilities to produce a podcast or potentially other digital media content formats that would be more flexible to his schedule and potentially less time-consuming.

Travis’ tweet caught many off guard as the conversations about such a move were at an early stage and had not progressed far with Jones and ESPN preferring the status quo until a better fit was identified and agreed upon. ESPN sent Awful Announcing the following statement:

“We cannot comment at this time about specifics, but Bomani continues to be an integral part of our audio strategy and is a key player across a wide variety of ESPN platforms.”

You’d imagine those in Bristol weren’t thrilled with another story getting leaked to Travis and being presented as another example of the company’s declining significance.

About Ben Koo

Copying and pasting my Twitter bio. I'm also refusing (for now) to write this in the third person. This is me - EIC and CEO at @comeback_sports and @AwfulAnnouncing, world's greatest chinese jew, proud Buckeye, funny dude, and sports and digital media zealot.

  • newdog301

    Lol, nice spin on it.

    “Our ratings aren’t good on the radio, so can I please go to an online podcast where viewership doesn’t matter? Okay, cool.”

  • Patrick Ryan Williford

    Move J&J to 4-6 to accommodate Jalen’s new morning role then have Katie Nolan do 6-9

    • notfunny2u

      Haha…69…haha

      • Patrick Ryan Williford

        Username checks out

        • notfunny2u

          Touché

    • SternsWig

      You gave Alex Putterman a chubby with the Katie reference

  • Scott Fitzgerald

    Sounds like Bonami asked for it to end to save face from getting canceled. Also how can Bonami have a “digital focus” when he blocks everyone on Twitter?

  • Bill Walsh

    “A lot of affiliates go local” when the ESPN feed sucks. Have they lost 90 affiliates? Who preceded the dreadful Jones in that slot? Babe Ruth and Joe Garagiola? How do you lose 90 affiliates and keep going to work?

    Pablo Torre, who, obviously infected with the ESPN sickness, is decent and he must be sweating bullets after being paired with this pathetic racist.

    • Walt_Gekko

      That was Dan LeBatard before his show was moved to 10:00 AM-1:00 PM ET (with an additional local-only hour in Miami from 9:00-10:00 AM). I would myself make the middle two hours of Michael Kay’s 3-7 PM ET show on 98.7 a full national show as noted in my own comments.

  • TheOriginalDonald

    Clay Travis trying to Outspit The Coverage (sponsored by Papa John’s) again

  • Raymond Terry

    Clay really gets under ESPN skin. Just like everyone else to be honest.

  • Court Gerard

    So you people seriously think ESPN would cancel a radio show for low then turn around and give the same host a tv show?

    • Johnny America

      Radio and TV are two totally separate outlets. As this article pointed out most stations from 4 to 7 are local. They are paying Bo a ton and its not working out. Unless you wanted them to give him either Mike Golic, Labatard, or Russlios time slot it wasn’t going to work out.

      • bralinshan

        LOL, you’re not using your noodle. Dig deeper.

  • Walt_Gekko

    What ESPN ought to do is make The Michael Kay Show (with Don LaGreca and Peter Rosenberg) that currently airs on 98.7 ESPN in New York a partially national show, with 3-4 & 6-7:00 PM ET remaining local and the middle two hours becoming national with Rosenberg’s ENN (Evening Nightly News) segment moved up to 5:30 PM ET to accommodate such a setup. Then move Jalen & Jacoby up an hour to 6-8 with whatever after that from 8-11:00 PM (maybe Anita Marks, who currently is heard mainly weekends on 98.7 and also appears on ESPN during the week) and “Freddie & Fitz” as it is now from 11:00 PM-2:00 AM ET.

    • Dale Latimer

      I live in an area where the local ESPN affiliate always pre-empted the 4-7, and often 7-8 or 9, PM time slots for local talk shows, and also begins local live sports events during or just after that period. This is likely something LOTS of smaller-market affiliates do, and which they HAVE to do to keep from just being called hangers-on with the Bristol Bunch… the point is, NOBODY in these time slots is going to have lots of affils on board, especially not 98.7, Walt, depending on their live-events load… dL

      • Walt_Gekko

        That’s why I do where Kay, LaGreca and Rosenberg would only be national from 4-6:00 PM with 3-4 & 6-7 PM remaining local. 98.7 obviously would still air Michael Kay the whole time and that makes it more attractive to ad buyers on the national stage. It would be more of a national show with a New York focus.

        Another option as noted in a reply to another post is to make Stephen A. Smith’s 1-3 PM ET show that currently airs on 98.7 in NYC & 710 AM in LA (and nationally on Sirius/XM) a full national show and move Ryen Russillo back to 3:00-6:00 PM ET.

  • Steve Jones

    lol No one is giving up a national radio show to focus on some digital show nonsense. Travis was right this is all spin. Jones show is terrible. He is incredibly annoying to listen to if you care about sports since his show is just nonsense liberal takes and nothing else.

  • DrewShervin

    Bomani should have never left Highly Questionable. His TV show with Pablo will never get the ratings HQ does. There was no reason to break up a successful pairing. Dan and Bomani worked. Having a sub-host change every week doesn’t.

  • namingrightsforsale

    Lol Clay Travis’ tweets are beginning to sound like they came from the orangutan in the Oval Office. I knew he was a toxic joke from the time I became acquainted with his “work,” so maybe this shouldn’t be all the surprising, but it’s still pathetic and sad to see.

    • bralinshan

      Orangutan is racist. Travis is 100% correct. He called this coming round of layoffs last summer. Try not sucking just once. And that Orangutan OWNS you.

  • Slim Boeheim

    Clay’s just mad because he is too dumb to grasp what Bomani discusses. Bomani challenges the status quo of the typical sports radio listener. He wants to make you think outside the box but most people are too lazy/small minded to get the damn point.

    • Walt_Gekko

      So does Stephen A. Smith, who has a “secondary national” show that airs on 98.7 in NYC/710 AM in LA and nationally on Sirius XM from 1:00-3:00 PM ET. I would not be surprised if ESPN now also looks (besides what I wrote in another comment) at making SAS a full national show and pushing Ryen Russillo back to 3-6 PM ET.

    • bralinshan

      Yes, Clay’s got millions of listeners….and Bomani has NO listeners. But, Clay’s dumb? Good lord man. Get ahold of yourself. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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  • bralinshan

    Awful Announcing is just….awful. Travis is right as usual. This site will likely end up next to Bomani Jones…dead.
    HINT: Try having a take without the liberal spin. Bomani was a disaster. From Day ONE. Everyone with a brain knew he’d be a disaster. You can’t build a national show around Black social justice. Why would Jones ask for a digital footprint? That will also lead to disaster.
    Most likely, he gets FIRED after Thanksgiving.

  • PhillySportsTracker

    Honestly who as more credibility on this at the point? Clay Travis was talking about the business problems for @ESPN years ago. He cited the fact that they were middlemen for sports, and not producing original content (with exception of 30 for 30). He said they would need to fire people to balance their books last year, ESPN personalities attacked him on social media; what happened. He made comments about them not wing able to bid for the MNF contract, that’s looking more and more likely. He said more layoffs to come in September after Dan LeBetard called him out on Twitter, see SI Article this week. Say what you want about his political commentary, but he has been sport on and light years ahead of anyone else on this. The power that be in Bristol have denied this and been proven wrong. They are media company who doesn’t understand they are losing credibility with their consumers. A growing number of people feel they cannot trust them, which is not good for a news organization. Who has a better track record here?