ESPN cancelled long-time Sunday program The Sports Reporters earlier this year after almost a 30-year run, but following its final episode in May, two of the show’s regulars are now bringing it back as a twice-weekly podcast. And they’re doing so in partnership with audio company Cadence13 rather than ESPN.
Mike Lupica of The New York Daily News (who hosted the show in 2016 and 2017 following the passing of John Saunders) and Mitch Albom of The Detroit Free Press will be relaunching the show Friday, with new episodes planned for each Monday and Friday, and a rotating third guest on each show. A preview is available through iTunes here. As per the Free Press, expect to hear many veteran sportswriters on the new podcast, including some who were on the TV show:
The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan, USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, William Rhoden of The New York Times and Lesley Visser of CBS Sports are part of the rotating cast that will join Albom and Lupica on the podcast every Monday and Friday.
…“We’re continuing the conversation that started 30 years ago on ESPN and bringing it fully into the 21st century,” Albom said in a news release. “I’m excited to partner with Mike, our former Sports Reporters colleagues, and Cadence13 as we give fans even more of what they loved about the show in a new format that makes it easy to listen anytime.”
…“Every Monday and Friday, we tackle the big issues, the big personalities in sports,” said Lupica. “We’ll discuss and debate our perspectives on the sports of the day with a rotating cast of colleagues in the third chair. This new audio format allows us to easily bring in co-hosts and guests from all over the country.”
If any TV show can make a transition to a podcast, this one’s probably a good bet, as The Sports Reporters was always focused on discussion without a lot of graphics or highlights. And moving to audio-only means, as Lupica says, they’re no longer so limited by geography and studio access for guests or co-hosts. It also means that those who want these personalities’ takes don’t have to tune in live on Sunday morning or DVR their show, and can listen to this anywhere rather than just at a TV.
It’s interesting to hear of Cadence13’s involvement here as well. They’re a new name in the podcasting world, but one with a history and with some prominent executives; Radio and Internet News wrote Aug. 24 about DGital Media rebranding to Cadence13, in the wake of Entercom acquiring 45 per cent of DGital on Aug. 4. They have an impressive executive suite, including some Sirius XM veterans, and seem to have big plans:
That burst of top-level hiring was no doubt facilitated by the recent 45% acquisition of then-DGital, now-Cadence13 by Entercom. The company promises new programming as a result of the new talent, specifically calling out a new category of audio documentaries to come.
Production will be accomplished at the company’s New York studios, a new production facility in Los Angeles, and “access to studios across the country.” The intent appears to be close control of production no matter where it might best be accomplished.
“Our new brand identity, Cadence13, reflects our focus on the unique character of our company and our commitment to ensuring that we take a creative approach to making each show successful,” said Spencer Brown, CEO of Cadence13.
So, they seem like pretty good backers for this. However, the sports podcast field is incredibly crowded, and it can be tough to stand out there, especially as this new endeavor no longer has ESPN promotion. There’s TV history and prominent personas to lean on here, and that will likely help, but it will be interesting to see just how much demand there is for this new podcast.