Next month will see the end of an era at ESPN. As reported by Barrett Sports Media, Traug Keller, senior vice president in charge of ESPN Audio and the ESPN Talent Office, will retire. Keller has been with ESPN since 2004 and his time with the Disney company goes back to 1994 with a 10-year stint as the president of ABC Radio Networks.
During his tenure, ESPN Radio programming went from weeknight and weekend filler for sports radio stations throughout the country to key content for daily schedules. Keller oversaw ESPN Local, launching sites like ESPN Dallas and ESPN Boston, and a big part of that was getting local stations to become ESPN Radio affiliates. Mike & Mike was pervasive morning radio for sports fans throughout the country, with stations also carrying shows featuring hosts like Dan Patrick, Tony Kornheiser, Colin Cowherd, and Dan Le Batard.
Keller also oversaw ESPN Radio’s evolution into ESPN Audio, moving beyond terrestrial radio to offer the network’s audio content on live streaming through ESPNRadio.com. Allowing listeners to get ESPN Radio content without access to radio was the gateway to on-demand programming and eventually podcasts. Podcasts have become a cornerstone of ESPN Audio, giving audiences the opportunity to listen whenever and wherever they prefer while also focusing on particular sports or personalities.
“Podcasting allows you to dive deeper,” Keller told Inside Radio in 2018. “If you are a hoop junkie, now you can be all hoop all the time with “The Lowe Post.” Or if you are a fantasy addict and you are all in with Matthew Berry. We’ve got an incredible storytelling unit with our ’30 for 30.’ It all seems to lend itself to take our best brands and bring it to podcasting. So we are fulfilling those different needs, the sports passion, the storytelling.”
Also retiring from ESPN Audio is Marcia Keegan, the company’s vice president for national radio programming and production.
Keegan oversaw all of ESPN Radio’s content, developing national shows such as Golic and Wingo, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, The Will Cain Show, and Spain and Fitz, among several others. Her tenure with the network goes back to 2004 and during that tenure, Keegan was previously vice president of production overseeing daytime TV programming such as First Take and SportsNation, in addition to the Mike & Mike show’s transition from radio to television.
With Keller and Keegan retiring, ESPN Audio will undergo a restructuring at the top.
Dave Roberts will be promoted to senior vice president of production, overseeing the network’s daytime TV content and ESPN Radio programming. Amanda Gifford will also add ESPN Audio programming to her role as senior director of talent recruitment and negotiations, in charge of booking guests for ESPN’s studio shows. Prior to that, she was the company’s senior director of daytime programs, overseeing several ESPN Radio programs.