Hiring Clay Travis to be part of the squad to fill Rush Limbaugh’s old time slot couldn’t have been easier. Travis is with FOX Sports Radio, which is owned by Premier Networks. The old Limbaugh show was distributed by Premier. It was a way to get some name recognition to fill in the box without having to do an exhaustive search.
For the sporting side of talk radio, this brings more questions than answers. As of this writing, FOX Sports Radio has not announced the status of its morning show.
If Clay was up for a double duty, then being owned by the same company would make it very easy for him to talk about sports in the morning and the war at Christmas in the afternoon. Both networks could say they have a well-known brand filling their respective openings, and Clay Travis could use each show to promote the other. But Travis made it clear earlier that hosting two daily radio shows would not be part of his future plans or those of the network.
This would not be the ideal route for FOX Sports Radio. Remember, the Limbaugh show generated more revenue than anything in radio history. While Travis and his new partner Buck Sexton won’t have those expectations from day one, it’s a safe bet Premier will want Travis to make the new show his top priority and FOX Sports Radio won’t. use a prime day party to play second fiddle to anyone.
With that in mind, let’s look at what the options of FSR can be.
1. MOVE A SHOW ALREADY ESTABLISHED IN THE RANGE
FOX Sports Radio draws on talents already known to sports fans. With that in mind, it seems the two most likely internal options would be to move afternoon host Doug Gottlieb to the morning or do the same for The strange couple, which airs in the evening on the East Coast.
The problem is, both shows are based on the west coast. Travis is based in Nashville, so if a 6 a.m. start time in the East meant 5 a.m. for him, that was certainly a more reasonable request than what would be a 3 a.m. start time. in California. That’s not to say that this option is necessarily out of the question. It’s just something to note.
Could Up on Game be another option? The show premiered in late 2020 and stars three former NFL players. It would certainly be a lot different, and FOX Sports Radio Vice President Scott Shapiro recently praised the show in a conversation with BSM’s Rob Taylor.
The question Scott and Don Martin should answer is, are these three guys able to take what they do once a week and translate it into three hours a day, five days a week.
2. BRING ANOTHER LOCAL FLAME LAUNCHER
People who follow college football knew Clay Travis before they joined FOX Sports Radio. He already had a sports radio profile from his time at The Zone in Nashville, but the reality is that his national profile was largely pushed by FOX Sports Radio. Can the network recreate this formula?
Some logical candidates might be Dan Dakich in Indianapolis, Mark Schlereth in Denver, or Sean Salisbury in Houston. They all have strong names in the sports radio world. All of them have strong opinions on all subjects.
There are a lot more options. These are just the first three that come to mind as they could be used by both FOX Sports Radio and FS1 or FOX Sports and offset some of the cost.
3. BRING A FREE BIG NAME AGENT
Let’s see… who is someone who knows how to entertain on the radio, who doesn’t currently have a gig, and has years of experience talking to sports fans across the country on their way to and from work and / or at school?
That’s right, Mike Golic, get off!
I’m not sure that’s the direction FOX Sports Radio would take, but it would be a coup. It would also put ESPN Radio on its heels as suddenly there might be an option for affiliates unhappy with Golic’s release last year.
Another possibility, although less likely, is Nick Wright. Granted, he’s not really a free agent, but after leaving SiriusXM last year, he’s currently without a home radio.
Wright is based in New York City and is part of First Things First on FOX Sports 1. The partnership between FOX Sports Radio and FOX Sports is strong, so a situation is unlikely to arise where Wright leaves FS1 for FOX Sports Radio, but Nick built his radio career, including hosting Matinees in Houston. It is a medium with which he is familiar. I also know that if we ask Colin Cowherd to intervene, there has not been a champion of Wright more prominent than him.
4. CREATE YOUR OWN STARS
A few months ago I wrote that with Will Cain leaving ESPN Radio, the Bristol-based network had the opportunity to do what they did with Colin Cowherd and find a local host ready for a scene. national. What if FOX did this instead? My list is always available in case Don and Scott want ideas.
This is perhaps the best way for FOX Sports Radio to pivot away from the formula followed by Clay Travis. I don’t mean politically. This may be the best way for FOX to build a morning crew and have a show that feels like a big party instead of being guy-centric.
So it’s clear that FOX Sports Radio has options. This work will be very attractive. They also have time to do their hiring, which means they have a good chance of being successful.
Whether you love or hate Travis, it was clear that in the world of sports he was carving out a pretty specific niche for himself. I don’t know if he’s a “nobody can do what this guy does” kind of talent, but he’s definitely a talent with a very distinct presence. This means that the audience will have a standard that they will use to judge what comes next. The people who make the decisions at FOX Sports Radio already know this.