Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Details On Kellerman's Departure Emerging

(h/t commenter Myth)

The Daily News is starting to fill in some of the blanks on the sudden departure of Max Kellerman from 1050 ESPN Radio (not in order of appearance):
There was major friction over the format of "The Max Kellerman Show." The format was in flux no matter the state of the show's ratings. A partner (Brian Kenny) was added but left. Other parts of Kellerman's studio crew were shuffled or jettisoned. Sources said Kellerman was particularly angered when management dumped his producer Robin Lundberg.
Kellerman had brought Lundberg along with him as an intern at Around the Horn, to a Producer on I, Max on Fox and most recently to be his producer on 1050. Lundberg provided hilarious on-air quips and one-liners, but also seemed quite competent in his role as producer, at least from a listener's perspective.
"Max wasn't happy when the show was cut back (an hour)," [1050 Executive Tim] McCarthy said. "He wanted to do other things and we just obliged him. We could have held him (to the contract) but I've never worked that way. It doesn't make sense to do that. It's not fair to Max, not fair to the other people here, not fair to our listeners."
It's sort of a dick move on Kellerman's part to force his way out, but he had already worked his was up from a two hour to a three hour slot, and saw his on-air time being cut back by the person he was brought into replace.

It was discussed in the comments of the previous post, and by Simon and myself over email, but this is worth bringing forward.

Cowherd's show has no place in New York City.

He is extremely College Football centric, which most New Yorkers (especially people native to the area) have minimal interest in. He knows next to nothing about baseball, which FJM expertly (and hilariously) took him to task for, once upon a time.

The reason Kellerman was popular here was not only because he had a completely unique perspective, it was because that perspective was highly localized. Max literally proclaimed New York City as "the center of the known Universe" and ran his show accordingly. He doted on the Yankees, Giants and Knicks, but also covered the Mets and Jets before looking out to the rest of the sports world. Cowherd isn't going to devote 1/100th of the time Max did to NY teams.
Industry sources said Kellerman's representative has already had a preliminary conversation with the FANdroids, but was told to return when he was not under contract to ESPN-1050.

Now, that's the case. When asked if there was any business going down with Kellerman, WFAN operations chief Mark Chernoff would only say: "We are looking for a partner for Mike. Mike wants a partner. If people are interested in talking to us we are interested in talking to them."
This just doesn't make sense to me. I'm not that excited to hear the two of them together. I don't like Francesa at all, and am not interested in listening to them shout each other down, Francesa with his "sauces" and Kellerman with his analytical perspective. It would take both of them toning down their style, which would make (2+2=3).

Why don't they tell Benigno & Roberts to take a hike, put Kellerman in the 10-1 slot, and steal all of Kellerman's listeners from 1050? I've sort of built my schedule around listening to the radio in the morning and then cranking down on work later in the day. Perhaps some of Kellerman's other loyal listeners have developed similar habits. I'm guessing they would be a whole lot more likely to tune the dial over to WFAN at 10:00AM, than listen to two hours of Brandon Tierney and an hour of Colin Cowherd, as opposed to waiting until 1:00 when Francesa comes on. If Max becomes Francesa's co-host, the worst part of my day is now the worst part of my day again.

Despite the fact that Michael Kay isn't all that well liked around New York City, Yankee fans can still tune in knowing that during the baseball season, he's probably going to be talking about their team. It wouldn't be total a no-brainer to listen to Francesa and Kellerman.

There's also the potential for Francesa to lose listeners because Kellerman tends to rub people, especially older people (who make up much of his listenership), the wrong way. Younger listeners are more likely to get his references to Wu-Tang and the Juggernaut (Bitch) and not necessarily mind his constantly self-congratulatory on-air presence.

WFAN, don't stack your talent to the roof in the one slot you have that's already popular. You must be hurting for the 18-34 year old male demographic in the earlier part of the day, and this is the perfect opportunity to attract some of that in a big way. I'm yours for the taking.


  1. Completely agree about Cowherd. Not the right content for NYC metro.

    Satellite baby! "The torture of terrestrial radio"

  2. I would like to hear a college talk on the radio. Max never talked about it because their are no teams worth mentioning in NYC or NYS for that matter.

    He also never talked about college basketball really either, which is less acceptable especially when there are tournaments (Big East) being held about 500ft from where you are broadcasting.

    From my experience, I find that many people (at least my friends) in NYC are big college football and basketball fans. I think people with little interest would tend to be more casual fans (i.e. people that care more about arod and madonna than arod's vorp), which is easy in NY with the media coverage.

    As for Kellerman and about the worst idea in the history of radio.

  3. Jason - I'm guessing this why Kellerman hasn't been mentioned in conjunction with satellite yet.

    His format would probably translate really well, especially if he was given a little more freedom to expand the subject matter to boxing and music, etc. It might even be enough to get me to subscribe.

    BWS - The problem with college talk of any kind is that it's so fragmented. Individual people might like certain teams, but they are spread out over different conferences and regions. There are probably people who like every single college team somewhere in NYC, but they are all spread out on the Long Tail. You need local teams to anchor your coverage, that way you could at least focus on a conference.

    It would be nice if he did more College B-Ball, but it's kinda late to change at this point.

  4. @Big Willie Style, you're in the minority in College Football in NYC, there's a reason it's one of the worst college markets in the country. Same with college bball, the vast majority of the good Big East Teams are not centric to NYC. Pitt, Louisville, Marquette, Villanova aren't exactly New York topics. Sure some people want to hear about it but not the majority. Kellerman tailored his conversations to what matters in NYC, the pro teams.

    Listening to Brandon Tierney is going to force me to increase my caffeine intake. He's just so dull.

    Beningo and Roberts give me a headache.

    2+2=3 is pretty much a perfect analogy for what Kellerman and Francessa would be. It would be Kellerman stripped of things like TFAG and his younger focus.

  5. I agree with the fragmentation of college FB.

  6. Francesca does pretty well for himself and he talks quite a bit of college sports

  7. I agree that it is fragmented, but there essentially is a basic core group of teams that are up there and worth mentioning every year (texas, florida, ohio st., etc). This is not to say it needs to be talked about the entire show, but I think it is worth mentioning for a few minutes.

    I understand people won't give a shit about these teams necessarily, but watching a team you don't care about is much better in college game than NFL, more times than not. Also, fuck the NFL, ever notice how NCAA puts an awesome game on every Saturday, get a clue NFL.

    As for college basketball, if you would rather watch and listen to radio analysis the Knicks and the Nets over coverage of the Big East, well I guess you probably have some problems I don't want to know about.

  8. Cliff - Two things about that. For a long time they were the only gig in town, so their listeners were stuck with pretty much whatever they wanted to discuss, as opposed to listening to another show which would be non-sports in nature. Secondly, he's got more time on air to fill, and people certainly prefer college talk to hearing something else for a second time.

  9. Wow Jay, I appreciate the love in the beginning of the post. Agree 100% with everything written although it wouldn't hurt to give Mike and Max a try to see the fireworks ... at least for a week or so then Max should get his own show from 10-1. I am all geared up to switch over to the FAN.

  10. Listening to Mike today I think it is a strong possibility this happens. There were a handful of callers that called in pushing him to bring on Max. Granted, there were a few callers against it but the fact they allowed these calls suggests that it is a possibility. Mike also seemed genuinely interested in their opinion.

    As a long time listener of Mike and a listener of Max for about a year now I have a tough time picturing it, but who knows. I think they would get along fine but their styles are just so different