Stugotz Dan Le Batard Show Meadowlark Media WFAN Screen grab: The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz

Jon “Stugotz” Weiner told Dan Le Batard he wouldn’t start 790 The Ticket (WAXY) unless the longtime Miami media personality was willing to do afternoon drives for his new radio station.

He wouldn’t and wasn’t going to do it without Le Batard.

Appearing on the most recent episode of the Awful Announcing podcast, Stugotz downplayed the difficulty of persuading Le Batard, then considered an underdog, to jump into sports radio.

Stugotz, reflecting on his days as executive producer for Hank Goldberg’s WQAM show, described how Goldberg’s shtick devolved into a relentless “daily Le Batard takedown” in the latter years. Stugotz painted a picture of Goldberg entering the studio daily, armed with the Miami Herald, specifically targeting Le Batard’s column for on-air ridicule.

“Anything he wrote — even if Hank agreed with him — he would find a way to disagree,” said Stugotz. “And I said, ‘If anyone can drive Hank Goldberg this crazy, that person needs to be on the air opposite of Hank Goldberg’… Dan was intrigued by it. Obviously, he took the job. He loved going against Hank. And Dan loves being part of an underdog. He loves being part of something like that — and we were the underdog. You had the GM calling, saying we were doing ‘sissy boy radio,’ and then half a year later, we had higher ratings than any show in the history of the market.”

From that early antagonism, a strange give-and-take emerged. While they reveled in their underdog status and the success it brought, they couldn’t deny the role Goldberg, the longtime ESPN personality known for his NFL and horse racing expertise, played in their journey. His constant need to needle Le Batard, as Stugotz alluded to, became the unexpected catalyst for their signature show.

However, their show’s success wouldn’t have materialized without a pivotal phone call. Unwilling to tackle afternoons alone, Le Batard insisted on Stugotz as his co-host.

It was a decision that would change the course of their careers.

“He did call me a week before the station started,” Stugotz said of his longtime co-host. “I was doing middays, and he was going to be doing afternoons, and he said, ‘I can’t do the show by myself.’ And I said, ‘Well, who do you want me to get?’ At the time, he told me Boog Sciambi. Now Boog, who’s the voice of the Cubs now, he was doing work for the Marlins, who were on 560. So he could not come over to 790 The Ticket…He said, ‘I already spoke to Boog, he can’t do it. But Boog suggests I do it with you.’

“And I said, ‘Well, I’m doing middays.’ He said, ‘Well, not anymore; you’re doing the afternoons with me unless you want me not to take the job.’ And so, I had to hire a new midday show because, again, I wasn’t starting the station without Dan. If that meant I had to sit in with Dan, then I had to sit in with Dan. In hindsight, at the time I was upset because I wanted my own midday show. OK, so I was upset at the time. But it turns out to be the greatest call I’ve ever gotten. I mean, I’m sitting here 20 years later. I’m talking to (AA podcast host Brandon Contes). They’re offering me WFAN Program Director jobs. It was the best call I ever got, and it’s been as fun of 20 years as anyone could imagine.”

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About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.