Get ready for 10 more hours of Stephen A. Smith on TV each week. Smith is a regular presence across ESPN’s TV platforms, most notably for hosting First Take (where he’s been since 2012) on ESPN from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern, but also for guest-hosting special editions of SportsCenter, hosting First Take specials and appearing on SportsCenter to tell us just how much he hates Kevin Durant and travelling to watch NBA games. Now, his daily ESPN Radio show will also be televised beginning August 13, joining ESPNEWS’ lineup of radio simulcasts.
And he’s excited about that, as per ESPN’s release:
“With each passing month, the radio show continues to progress, to move on up, adding elements and components that will only contribute to our success,” Smith said. “Simulcasting this show is yet another step in that direction, for myself, my team and, most importantly, for ESPN. As usual, now it’s time to get to work……and make it work……which we know I intend to do. Buckle Up!”
This is furthering ESPNEWS’ push into radio simulcasts, something they’ve long been interested in. They already simulcast Golic and Wingo (6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Eastern), The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and The Will Cain Show (3 to 6 p.m.), so now, ESPNEWS will be all radio simulcasts from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern on weekdays. That’s probably not a bad idea for the channel, as that at least provides some brand identity; the initial “news, information and highlights” focus of ESPNEWS was still emphasized even after 2013 cutbacks, but it’s has taken a hit in recent years, especially with the ending of evening SportsCenter shows there last November.
While there could still be other moves ahead for ESPNEWS in the long run, including perhaps a shift into The ACC Network (although that may happen with ESPNU instead), at least the radio lineup gives the channel an identity for now. It also provides a reason for people to tune in; all of those radio programs have their fans, and some may choose to watch on TV. And a TV simulcast is probably attractive to these hosts, too, further boosting their own profile.
We’ll see how Smith does with this change, but his show has been getting a lot more promotion from ESPN recently. It debuted nationally on ESPN Radio in January, a step up from its previous airings on Sirius XM and ESPN’s owned-and-operated radio stations in New York and Los Angeles. Now it’s making the jump into the simulcast world. And now those looking to watch more Smith each day can do that.