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Sports Talk Network Update: Heavyweights Covering All Bases

| January 2, 2013

Part One: CBS Launches New Network

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief

LOS ANGELES — “Happy Sports Year!”

That could easily be the battle cry sentiment among ardent fans to welcome 2013, even if it means that many of them will require scorecards to track the whereabouts of some of their favorite sports radio personalities.

A perennial sports talk talent MVP tops the headlines by switching teams, while some new names get to crack opening-day lineups, as not one – but two – national sports networks are being introduced this year, each carrying instantly-recognizable name branding.

One of them in fact, is making its maiden voyage today (Wednesday, January 2) and, if all goes according to plan, many radio station managers and programmers will be echoing that “Happy Sports Year!” declaration in about 11 months as their way of assessing 2013.

As part of a special feature series that will be posted today, tomorrow, and Friday, executives and on-air talents give us an overview of the germination process and development of separate sports radio networks with the “CBS” and “NBC” monikers.

CBS Sports Radio Network100Up first, details of the CBS Sports Radio web that formally launched today.

Wedding100Cumulus90Programming is being handled by CBS Radio, and in a unique union, one of its customary rivals – Cumulus – joins forces to do affiliate marketing and sales.

In PPM markets alone, CBS Radio owns sports facilities in:

• New York (WFAN, which also appears in Long Island, Middlesex, and Hartford)
• Chicago (WSCR)
• Dallas (KRLD-FM)
• Houston (KILT-AM and KIKK-AM)
• Philadelphia (WIP-AM and WIP-FM)
• Washington (WJFK-FM)
• Atlanta (WZGC)
• Boston (WBZ-FM, which also appears in Providence)
• Detroit (WXYT-AM and WXYT-FM)
• Tampa (WQYK-AM and WHFS-FM)
• Baltimore (WJZ-AM and WJZ-FM)
• Charlotte (WBCN and WFNZ)
• Pittsburgh (KDKA-FM)
• Riverside (KRAK)
• Sacramento (KHTK)
• Cleveland (WHRK)
• Las Vegas (KYDZ)

Meanwhile, there are Cumulus-owned sports outlets in:

• San Francisco (KNBR, which also appears in Sacramento and San Jose)
• Dallas (KTCK)
• Salt Lake City (KFNZ)
• Nashville (WGFX)

Those are just some of the two companies’ sports-geared O&Os; the amount of CBS Sports Radio network programming will vary from station to station.

Getting to know you

olivierochrisLikening the CBS Sports Radio/Cumulus association to a marriage, CBS Radio senior vice president Chris Oliviero notes that before two people are wed, they usually date extensively as they genuinely and thoroughly learn about each another.

For all practical purposes, that is an apropos analogy for the particular business relationship between these two powerful media entities.

KNBR Logo100KTCK100Over the last several years, CBS Radio has investigated the concept of doing a national sports network, and Oliviero points out the company had conversations with a multitude of potential collaborators. “We discussed what we were looking for in a partner and in distribution,” he explains. “From all of those conversations, the ones with Cumulus were the most engaging, most aggressive, and the most promising. We decided we finally found the right partner in Cumulus. A big reason for that is, from an owned & operated standpoint, they bring a tremendous amount of distribution that is [compatible] with our footprint. They run some of the biggest sports radio stations in the country, including KNBR in San Francisco and ‘The Ticket’ [KTCK] in Dallas.”

greendennisMarkets in which CBS Radio has sports stations do not generally overlap with Cumulus-owned sports facilities. “From a distribution standpoint, the marriage was really a perfect fit,” Oliviero remarks. “Cumulus – led by [senior vice president affiliate sales and broadcast operations] Dennis Green – is handling the affiliations and the sales for CBS Sports Radio. They have done a remarkable job in a short couple of months.”

Approximately 250 stations are taking various elements of CBS Sports Radio’s programming and Oliviero pledges, “We have a very aggressive growth schedule for 2013. We think we will add many more affiliates.”

Flavor sampling

ESPN Radio100Fox Sports Radio100It isn’t as if CBS Radio will have the all-sports network field to itself, of course, as ESPN Radio, and Fox Sports Radio are among those already there.

Considering that kind of imposing competition, clients and listeners need to be shown significant differentiation among the network players. “You want to give them a flavor they cannot get anywhere else,” Oliviero comments. “The other products are all good and they are all strong. We felt our opportunity was to take what we have learned from doing local sports radio for 25 years in the biggest cities in America with a fair amount of success, and try to translate that into network radio.”

One clear point of demarcation vis-à-vis the CBS Radio approach will involve listener interaction. “I cannot overstate how important a role that will play,” Oliviero stresses. “It might be in the traditional way of people picking up a phone, or through social media. If you listen to some other sports radio networks, it is a great deal of one-way conversations, but we are going to be doing two-way conversations so listeners will be able to talk back. Yes, we will have interviews and yes, we will have monologs, but that is not all it will be.”

The audience will get “ample time” to respond so they are participants in a dialogue and Oliviero maintains, “If you look at the quantity of time other sports radio networks dedicate to the average listener, I do not think they can make that claim with much validity.”

Although not in favor of invoking the “no-holds barred” phrase, Oliviero envisions CBS Sports Radio to be hard-hitting and that the network’s on-air talent will be extremely opinionated. “There is no hidden agenda,” he declares. “It will be all about opinion, discussion, and debate. You can argue whether the other sports radio networks are delivering forceful opinions all day, or if they are delivering promotional value for something else. By doing it for many years, we have learned what listeners want from sports radio, and we are going to tap into that experience.”

There is no glossing over instant credibility

One specific component that gave Oliviero and his fellow CBS Radio executives such tremendous excitement about kick-starting the sports network was the amount of available in-house talent. “The same could go for our partnership with Cumulus,” he adds. “They bring great talent from some of their sports stations.”

chernoffmarkWhether it is on the weekends or as weekday fill-ins, there will be a very large representation from some of CBS Radio’s and Cumulus’ finest local sports hosts from around the country. “The message we will send to potential affiliates is that we are bringing ‘best-in-class’ radio professionals,” Oliviero explains. “These people know how to do radio shows. We are going to launch with one of the most well-recognized, professional lineups in all of network sports radio and [for that matter] in network sports radio history. I am very proud of what our team at CBS Radio put together. [Director of programming] Eric Spitz and [CBS Radio vice president/sports programming & WFAN, New York operations director] Mark Chernoff have worked tirelessly the past six months to get this ready.”

romejimArguably sports talk’s most successful syndicated host – Jim Rome – will anchor the same day-part (12:00 noon-3:00 pm, Eastern) he has held on numerous stations the last 15 years. “For him to make the jump [from Premiere Radio] to CBS Sports Radio gives us instant credibility,” Oliviero emphasizes. “He was in a good spot and he was very successful. Jim is as good of a radio broadcast mind as there is out there and he believes in what we are doing. He probably thinks he had a great first 15 years; he now wants to have an even better next 15 years. He will be part of something new and is actually carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders, since without doubt, he is the building block of our network. We are making no bones about that. He is a competitive person and he has accepted that challenge.”

NBC Sports - Dial Global100If ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio were not formidable enough, CBS Radio will also soon be squaring off against Dial Global, which will enter under the “NBC Sports Radio” brand, although Oliviero points out, “They did not start 24/7 today [as we did]. We are on a little bit different of a launch schedule, since they have announced a tentative date in the second quarter to go 24/7. Clearly though, they also have a great brand.”

Adamant in stating there is no connection between CBS Sports Radio and NBC Sports Radio surfacing at roughly the same time, Oliviero observes that the format just happens to be on fire. “It is a growing space on the radio,” he comments. “Larger companies beyond radio that are in the sports arena – ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox – understand the value that this format brings to their platform. It fits in nicely if you have an over-the-air sports network, a cable network, and a digital sports website. If you can plug in a 24/7 radio network to complement that, it is a really good mix.  All of those behemoths are looking at the natural, organic needs of the business.”

Given that it is a numbers game, however, only so much shelf space exists in a market for sports radio programming. Offering superior product will clearly enhance a company’s chance of being victorious. “The best content will ultimately win,” Oliviero concurs. “You also must have a good distribution plan. The magical equation is – great content plus great distribution. If you get both of those, you are set up to win.”

Entercom90Albeit biased, Oliviero predictably asserts that his sports radio network has, “the greatest content.” Asking that “the great content equation” be put aside momentarily, he mentions that CBS Radio and Cumulus are two of America’s largest radio station owners/operators. “Cumulus owns over 500 stations and CBS Radio has more than 125,” he points out. “Right off the bat, we have access to real estate that is very, very attractive. We have had some very positive reaction from great broadcast companies such as Entercom and Radio One. I know we can control our stations, but this makes it even more exciting.”

Radio One575The fact that sports is a super sales-friendly format certainly does not hurt. “Other formats have to deal with issues such as ‘No Buy Dictates,’ but sports radio has none of that,” Oliviero proclaims. “Everyone loves sports. We all love a good, clean, healthy sports debate and we enjoy the passion that sports radio brings. It is a very safe environment for clients to invest their dollars. It is a foreground, not passive, format that engages people, and it requires them to react. Those are the formats that really jump out now. They get the attention of both listeners and clients.”

Memories minus music

Potential for CBS Sports Radio to grow on an inviting and growing portal presents itself through the enormous amount of digital content that it will provide. “Step back for a second and look at some of the great local sports stations and national networks out there – ourselves included – and you will see that we produce considerable original, exclusive content each day,” Oliviero comments.

If someone misses a particular program one day, it can be time-shifted so they can hear it later and Oliviero remarks, “Music radio is not necessarily set up to do that. The ability to be exposed on digital platforms is a big reason why sports radio is booming. We have gone through about seven rough years – clearly, the economy has not been good. Whether you call it a ‘recession,’ or a ‘depression,’ it has been a very difficult time for the vast majority of Americans.”

For many, sports represents the ultimate escape vehicle. “People have had enough bad news in their lives that they look for something so they can get away from it all,” Oliviero contends. “I cannot think of a better opportunity than listening to sports, talking about sports, or going to a sporting event. You can just disappear from the day-to-day monotony of it all, as sports radio tries to put a smile on your face. My personal gut feeling – with no research to back it up – is that sports radio has boomed in the past five to seven years, in part, because of the general bad economy. Everybody has an opinion, everybody is an expert, and everybody has a seat at the table for their 15 seconds of fame. The opportunity to be able to vent is what makes sports radio so great.”

Among distribution platforms the CBS Sports Radio network will utilize are FM, AM, HD, mobile, and streaming. “The most important thing people need to know is that this is an additive part of our operation – it is not subtractive,” Oliviero stresses. “We are not pulling back one iota on what we do on local sports radio. We are not cancelling any local shows in order to clear a network show.”

Not long after making its June 2012 national sports network announcement, CBS Radio debuted FM sports stations in Tampa (where, in early-August, hot AC WSJT flipped to WHFS-FM, “The Fan”); and in Atlanta (adult alternative WZGC became “The Game” in late-October). “In some markets, we will have two sports stations,” Oliviero notes. “We will program the best in local on one, and the best in national on the other.”

Many more female listeners than some might think are attracted to sports radio, although it clearly remains a male-skewed format. “No matter how old of a man you are, sports always allows you to be young,” Oliviero maintains. “You always remember growing up what a sporting event was like with your dad, your uncle, or your brothers and how you experienced it. You carry that childhood love for the game throughout your entire life, regardless of how old you get. From a memory basis, it is sort of an oldies format – without the music.”

Positioned perfectly

spitzericmasondanImmediately upon learning about the creation of CBS Sports Radio, Eric Spitz spoke with both the company’s president/chief executive officer Dan Mason, as well as senior vice president of programming Chris Oliviero. “I was very excited about the network, and I definitely wanted to be a part of it,” comments Spitz, who has been with New York City’s WFAN since it debuted 25 years ago and has programmed the CBS Radio-owned sports outlet since 2005. “I did not know if I would be a major or a minor part of the network. I expressed a strong desire to be the director of programming and I was very fortunate to be offered that position.”

WFAN90Ever since being bestowed that title and accompanying responsibilities this past August 27, Spitz has been feverishly laying the foundation for all day-to-day network operations from a programming perspective. “I’m fortunate to have Chris at corporate and Mark Chernoff here,” he states. “I have worked closely with [Mark] at WFAN for 20 years.”

It has been an intense schedule for Oliviero, Chernoff, and Spitz with director of programming Spitz explaining, “There is a lot to do on a daily basis to go from zero to 60 in that time.”

The network’s first component, hourly “CBS Sports Minutes,” was introduced on September 4. “They have been running successfully since day one,” Spitz states. “We are very happy with that product.”

From there, he began focusing on talent and the network’s support staff. “We will be bringing in 60-70 full-time and part-time staff members,” Spitz points out. “Hiring a support staff and building the infrastructure is what I have focused on the past two months. In order to hire 65 people, you meet with a lot more than that. For the better part of the last two months, I have been my own HR department.”

Productive chemistry lesson

tierneybrandonjacobsondanabarbertikiMorning drive will feature a triumvirate of Brandon Tierney; veteran ESPN anchor and University of Michigan grad Dana Jacobson; and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber. “Brandon is a great fundamental radio talk show host and is extremely knowledgeable,” Spitz notes. “Tiki is never adverse about giving an opinion. It got him in trouble several times when he was a player, but that did not stop him. You can assume he will offer equally as strong opinions now that he isn’t playing – probably even stronger ones. Dana is extremely smart and we are thrilled to have her.”

Commenting that CBS Sports Radio’s AM drive team is “an interesting, combustible mix of personalities,” Oliviero mentions that it is important to have a humorous, light aspect to a morning show and that, “Brandon, Dana, and Tiki will bring it. That three-person combination, with a very strong female, is very different from anything else in the national sports radio space. The makeup of that morning show points to how we will be different.”

feinsteinjohngottliebdougWriter/author John Feinstein holds down 9:00 am-12:00 noon (Eastern) duties and he bridges to the peerless Jim Rome (12:00 noon-3:00 pm, Eastern), who will be followed by ESPN alum Doug Gottlieb (3:00-6:00 pm, Eastern). “People will be able to experience Jim and Doug on multiple CBS platforms,” Oliviero explains. There is, “definitely an edge” to Gottlieb, according to Spitz, who realizes, “It may anger some people, but we know it will keep them listening.”

jonesbrianEvenings (6:00-10:00 pm) will be the domain of ex-New Jersey Devils (1988-1993) and Florida Panthers (1993-1999) play-by-play announcer Chris Moore, and CBS Sports college football analyst/five-year NFL player (Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints) Brian Jones. “Both of these guys are full of personality,” Spitz enthusiastically notes. “We think this show is going to be terrific.”

ferallscottamendolaradamonWBZ-FM90They will be followed by Scott Ferrall (10:00 pm-2:00 am) and Damon Amendolara (2:00 -6:00 am). The former, of course, is well-known for his iconic “Ferrall on the Bench” and was most recently on Sirius XM’s “Howard 101,” while the latter has done “The DA Show” in Boston on CBS Radio-owned WBZ-FM (“The Sports Hub”). “We worked with Scott in New York some years ago,” Spitz recalls. “He is full of energy, life, and drive. Damon began as an intern at WFAN. Mark and I have known him for 15 years and followed his career to when he did mornings in Kansas City. We are thrilled to have Damon as part of the fulltime team. This is a group of radio guys and that is what makes it special. They are very entertaining and will do great radio shows for us.”

Programmers never know what kind of chemistry will result when they bring in various candidates as part of an audition process for a radio station – or in this case a radio network. No more than three minutes into Dana Jacobson’s audition, Chernoff and Spitz looked at each other and as Spitz assuredly recounts, “We knew we had our person. We were very impressed with how smart she is. It goes beyond sports – she is just a bright person. Regardless who we put her in with, she could ‘talk the talk’ and ‘walk the walk.’ You don’t want to single out one person, but I do think she is going to be a star. You just know when you find the right person.”

In addition to having selected a slate of network hosts, Spitz has reached out to a number of on-air talents at various CBS Radio-owned sports facilities. “We will have them involved with weekend programming on the network,” he explains. “We think our local stations have terrific talent so we will be able to use them on weekend shows.”

Second historic startup

benignojoeEchoing similar statements made by Chris Oliviero, Spitz indicates CBS Sports Radio will be caller-focused. “That is a big part of – and what drives – local radio,” Spitz maintains. “Many hosts even thank the callers at the end of their shows. [WFAN 10:00 am-1:00 pm host] Joe Benigno always says, ‘I couldn’t do it without you.’ Others feel the same way. When putting this network together, we thought that we should absolutely incorporate listener phone calls on a regular basis. Callers are a big part of sports talk radio and our plan is to include them as often as we possibly can. Radio though succeeds by the people you put behind the microphone.”

imusandsternAn intern at New York City’s WNBC-AM in the summer of 1984, Spitz was at the renowned station that would later become WFAN when Don Imus was doing mornings and Howard Stern was its afternoon talent. “It was quite a place to break in,” recounts Spitz, who had just finished his freshman year at the State University of New York at Binghamton. “I got to know Howard a little bit, and he went out of his way to be extremely nice to me, although I am sure he has absolutely no recollection of me or that time we spent together.”

quiversrobinSince he was doing a newsroom internship, Spitz actually worked more closely with Robin Quivers that summer than he did with Stern. “At that time, she spent a good part of her day in the newsroom and went in and out of the studio,” notes Spitz, who on several occasions, was “Boy Eric” on the show. “I was required to go to the commissary and get Howard his coffee and yogurt. Those were fun times – that is for sure.”

Being around WNBC was a phenomenal experience for the then-18-year-old Spitz. “When I graduated in 1987, I heard about WFAN – an all-sports station that was starting. Through the internships I had, I was able to get an interview for a job as a desk assistant there and I was hired in June 1987. I was low-man on the totem pole at WFAN for the startup in 1987, but I always looked up and paid close attention to what was going on. I was very fortunate to be involved with the first all-sports station. To be part of another startup 25 years later is really special.”

High ceiling

WEPN Logo90When he was working at New York City ESPN Radio outlet WEPN, Brandon Tierney preferred to be on as a solo act, although the tri-host of CBS Sports Radio’s brand new morning drive program maintains there was nothing selfish about having such an attitude. “I was still in a formative stage of my career,” he explains. “I felt it gave me a greater platform to show who I am and what I do. As I have gotten older though and [gained] more experience in the business, I have come to realize that the best shows are ones with different points of view.”

In addition, he has discovered that it is much easier to be funny without forcing it when an on-air talent is working with somebody else. “Things develop organically,” he states. “You play off of each other and you challenge each other. I am at my best when somebody challenges me. If you think I am off-base, come at me. I love to have verbal sparring sessions. On-air teams are the way it has to be at this point. Unquestionably, a three-person team throws in a few extra moving parts. My job as point guard is to set up Tiki [Barber] in the proper spots, and find out what his wheelhouses are.

Football is obviously one of them for ex-NFL running back Barber. The same mission is true regarding former ESPN talent Dana Jacobson, the other member of the upstart network’s wakeup crew.

Conversely, Tierney comments, “I have some pretty strong opinions myself, so it is important that I get a fair amount of shots.”

It will be a balancing act, particularly in the beginning, although Tierney insists that once the three discover their rhythm and pace, “The potency will be there – the ceiling will be extraordinarily high. I have known Tiki off the air for a little bit. Dana was in [ESPN home base – Bristol, Connecticut] primarily with television and I was dealing mostly in radio. I knew Dana a little bit through some corporate functions, so it is not exactly as if they threw the three of us in a room, and told us to find the right recipe. We have been having conference calls and emailing each other.”

Talking points that Tierney, Jacobson & Barber trot out will overwhelmingly be sports-specific, although “BT” understands the three need to have the ability and the willingness to embrace pop culture. “We will be talking about whatever stuff affects those who are listening,” he promises. “The world has unfortunately become a much tougher place. If you can’t provide a little levity and perspective away from the sports field, it is a disservice to the audience – but also to you as an on-air talent. If a tragedy engulfs the country, you have to go with that. To think you are going to get into [the New York Jets’ QB controversy] on the day of a grammar school massacre is insensitive, pathetic, and asinine. It is a sports show, so the focus is sports but you have to incorporate what normal people do – and we will.”

WDFN90bucherricKGMZ100Nine months after landing his first radio job in Allentown (April 1999), Tierney drove from Brooklyn to Las Vegas to do some national work for the Sports Fan Radio Network. From there, he did mid-days in Detroit for about 18 months on Clear Channel’s WDFN (“The Fan”), and he most recently enjoyed a 16-month Bay Area stint co-hosting “The Drive” with Ric Bucher on Entercom-owned KGMZ (“The Game”).

Working on both coasts and in the middle of the country has given Tierney perspective that he contends, “has refined my approach and certainly helped me prepare” for the CBS Sports Radio job. “One of the great benefits I have had as a broadcaster is that I’ve shown how willing I am to chase down this dream,” he declares. “I drove many miles going from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ in order to move up the ladder.”

East versus west

beanebillypittbradOne of Tierney’s Twitter followers recently asked him to distinguish between an East coast fan and a West coast counterpart. Conceding that it is a broad generalization, he opines that for the most part, “Those in the east look for a reason to boo, while those in the west look for a reason to cheer. I’ve been in these stadiums; walked with these fans; and interviewed people like Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane [portrayed by Brad Pitt in ‘Moneyball’] on a weekly basis. I think that is huge.”

When it comes to isolating his favorite sport, Tierney’s answer will depend on the season. “The calendar is true to my internal clock,” he states.

When April rolls around, he has already sensed it is time for baseball; the “big basketball fan” though cannot wait for late-October to arrive. For three seasons, Tierney anchored New York Knicks pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows. On occasion, he did play-by-play broadcasts for that NBA team. “I follow golf tremendously and look forward to the opening of football training camps, so I am a fan of all sports – it is a true passion. Too much of the national sports coverage lacks a degree of palpable emotion. You can rant and rave for four hours a day but if you don’t have someone challenging or concurring with your position, it doesn’t resonate as much.”

It is Tierney’s contention that a great deal of “sterile” sports programming exists at the national level. Consequently, he and his cohorts are ready to take considerable listener input. “Callers are a gauge of our audience,” he asserts. “Without audiences, we don’t have jobs. It is that simple and you have to respect that. When people don’t listen to us, we are out of work, or we are doing something different. When you go from Seattle to Philadelphia to Detroit to Baltimore, you must know your stuff. You have to be prepared to engage a fan with equal intellect and fervor because that is what they expect. It is a great challenge, but when used properly, it is a great tool.”

Longtime listener

mikeandmaddogFor an approximately 19-year period that concluded in August 2008, WFAN, New York City afternoon drivers Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo (“Mike & The Mad Dog”) were an enormously popular sports talk team and they inspired countless aspiring broadcasters. “Anyone in this business my age from the Northeast would have to consider them to be the template,” Tierney emphatically states. “There was probably more diversity in their show than they were given credit for, but they pounded sports because that is what the New York fan wants.”

Listeners tended to gravitate toward one or the other, but as far as Tierney was concerned, he borrowed a little bit from both of them. “Mike has a no-nonsense, straightforward approach to a multitude of issues,” he points out. “I have that and it is true to my personality, but I am also a little wacky and zany like Chris. I take my job seriously and I take the expectations of my audience very seriously, but I do not take myself very seriously.”

obrienpatjtthebrickbrownjamesAlbeit that it had a relatively short lifespan, the Sports Fan Radio Network boasted an impressive lineup, which at times included Pat O’Brien, James Brown, JT the Brick, “The Fabulous Sports sportsbabeBabe” (Nanci Donnellan), and Scott Ferrall. “I used to fill-in for Scotty, so it is nice to be reunited with him,” Tierney comments of Ferrall, CBS Sports Radio’s 10:00 pm to 2:00 am host. “He was doing things before others were even dreaming of doing it.”

Conventional routes into the radio industry include attending a university with a great broadcasting program, although as Tierney reasons, “Many of those people knew that [being in radio] is what they wanted to do when they were nine years old. I wanted to be a player.”

Lettering in baseball while attending New York State liberal arts college Marist, journalism major Tierney did not do internships until after graduation, and was not part of the school’s radio station staff. “My experience was listening,” he declares. “It is almost impossible to explain it, but all of those days that I listened to Mike and Chris, I just knew that I would someday be in front of a microphone. It was an unpredictable path, and I don’t know if I would advise it, but it worked for me.”

Had anyone ever queried Tierney if he could have dreamt up this particular career arc, which has him doing mornings on a network sports show, he would have replied in the negative and he deadpans, “I’m a pretty creative person. I have always been a dreamer, but I don’t know if I ever thought I would have been in a position to do this. I feel great pride in fighting for everything I have in this business. I did not have any contacts or anything. All I had was a Journalism degree and this itch.”

For every door slammed in Tierney’s face, the Brooklyn native persistently kept knocking. “I am aware of the responsibility that comes with this,” he acknowledges. “I am absolutely ready to do morning drive on this network – but – I am also humbled as well. In all sincerity, it is an honor. When they identify you as someone they want for one of the prime spots, it confirms and validates many of the beliefs that I had of myself along the way. Talent looks for that. You want to be recognized as somebody who is a difference-maker. I have no problem saying that it was the best call I have ever received in my career. There is no question about it, or any debate. It is a huge step and I am pumped.”

CBS Sports Radio On-Air Lineup (All times are Eastern)

6:00-9:00 am: Brandon Tierney, Dana Jacobson, & Tiki Barber
9:00 am-12:00 noon: John Feinstein
12:00 noon-3:00 pm: Jim Rome
3:00 -6:00 pm: Doug Gottlieb
6:00-10:00 pm: Chris Moore & Brian Jones
10:00 pm-2:00 am: Scott Ferrall
2:00-6:00 am: Damon Amendolara

The second part of this special feature focusing on NBC’s version of network sports radio is here.

Reach TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian at or (818) 985-0244.

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Category: Features, Sports