When news of former ESPN personality Dan Le Batard and executive John Skipper launching a sports-oriented media company began circulating, reports included talent that the duo might pursue for their Meadowlark Media venture.
One of the names mentioned was Kate Fagan, a commentator and reporter who left ESPN after declining a contract extension in late 2018. At the time, she cited a decreasing interest in covering the day-to-day news of sports, preferring to focus more on the cultural aspects surrounding athletes and events. (Another of those names, Jemele Hill, joined Meadowlark as a creative advisor in March.)
In particular, Fagan wanted to cover women’s sports more closely, in addition to LGBT issues and mental health concerns. And there wasn’t space for that at ESPN. But that won’t be an issue at Meadowlark, where content creators are endeavoring to tell longer-form stories on events and athletes — largely in audio and video form — that might not have a place amid the regular churn of network programming.
Joining Fagan at Meadowlark is reporter Tom Haberstroh, who left NBC Sports at the end of last year. Best known for his reporting and analysis as an NBA insider, with a focus on analytics, Haberstroh has also worked for ESPN and Bleacher Report in addition to NBC.
— Kate Fagan (@katefagan3) May 19, 2021
Haberstroh also been a prolific podcaster with The Habershow NBA podcast and the Count the Dings podcast network, which includes programming devoted to movies, food, fatherhood, and Black culture. (Two of the network’s basketball podcasts were acquired by The Athletic.) It’s easy to imagine that those shows will fit easily into the Meadowlark Media catalog, along with The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Adnan Virk’s Cinephile, and The Jim Brockmire Podcast.
He also inspired a lyric — “I love Haberstroh!” — in the parody song “Stat In Yo Face” for The Dan Le Batard Show (written by Mike Ryan).
According to the official announcement from Meadowlark, Fagan and Haberstroh will appear regularly on Le Batard’s show and the Le Batard & Friends podcast network. But Meadowlark is also producing documentary content, along with unscripted and scripted programming, in which both will also have roles.
Both Fagan and Haberstroh have also worked to raise awareness for ALS. Haberstroh and his family created the #ALSPepperChallenge to raise money for research in honor of their mother Patty, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2017. Fagan just released a memoir, All the Colors Came Out, which chronicles her father’s ALS diagnosis, their relationship, and her departure from ESPN to help with his care.
“I actually had no intention of getting back into anything formal in sports media, but once I heard about Dan and Skipper’s vision for what Meadowlark could be, I knew it was a dream scenario,” Fagan said in Meadowlark’s official release.
“They made it clear – as they have throughout their careers – that their goal is to support and amplify the voices of the people they work with, as well as give them the freedom to tell the stories they’ve always wanted to tell. Who wouldn’t jump aboard that kind of ship?”