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ESPN Radio - Kornheiser Suspension

3061 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  markh
From ctnow.com:
Static At ESPN Radio
Kornheiser Suspension Latest In Personnel Shakeup

July 17, 2002
By KEVIN CANFIELD, The Hartford Courant

With the recent firing of four producers and a popular on-air personality and the suspension this week of perhaps its best-known talk-show host, ESPN Radio is bordering on disarray.
Tony Kornheiser, the longtime Washington Post columnist who hosts a midday show on the network and co-anchors a 5 p.m. free-for-all on ESPN's TV side, is off the air for a week after management took umbrage at some of his comments.

Kornheiser's suspension follows the firing last month of Jason Jackson, who had been with ESPN for nearly seven years as a television and radio host. Jackson, a source close to the Kornheiser show said, was fired for allegedly making unwanted and suggestive comments to a female colleague.

ESPN's radio unit has been an increasingly powerful force in recent years, annexing drive-time slots at stations across the country and consistently netting the best guests, from Michael Jordan to then-President Clinton. But it has been a summer of chaos at the Bristol headquarters of the sports broadcasting powerhouse. About a dozen staffers, including Eric Schoenfeld, general manager of ESPN Radio, have been let go or given time off for violations of company policy. Schoenfeld, a source said, was suspended for allegedly threatening a co-worker.

Mike Soltys, an ESPN spokesman, said the network would not comment on personnel matters, and neither Kornheiser nor Schoenfeld could be reached Tuesday.

It is clear, though, that this has not been an ordinary month or two for ESPN Radio. According to a source, after Jackson's firing, management looked at e-mail sent by a number of its employees. Though the e-mails were not directly related to the Jackson matter, they did contain profanity. This, the source said, led to the suspension of five employees and the firing of four producers. Two worked on the radio network's afternoon offering, "The Dan Patrick Show"; the other two worked on Kornheiser's show. The firings - particularly that of his show's senior producer, Denis Horgan Jr., whose father is a columnist at The Courant - upset Kornheiser.

Kornheiser discussed the firings of Horgan and associate producer Kelvin Alvarez several times on the show. "I would do just about anything to get them back," he said on a recent broadcast. "Denis' contributions to this show were enormous. All the funny, creative things were Denis', just about."

ESPN management apparently asked Kornheiser to stop talking about the matter on the air. He did but continued to discuss it on commercial breaks, which until recently were broadcast over the Internet.

The network stopped broadcasting the commercial-break banter between Kornheiser and his producers about three weeks ago, and Kornheiser, who reportedly makes $500,000 a year, was notified late last week that he would be suspended without pay for a week.

Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann, a former host of the network's "SportsCenter" who left ESPN in a highly publicized parting five years ago, recently hired Horgan to help write the commentaries he delivers daily for ABC Radio.

"Denis is just one of the funniest, one of the brightest guys, one of the most loyal, one of the best workers I've ever worked with," Olbermann said. "If you've got rules that force you to get rid of a decent guy like Denis Horgan, there's something wrong with your rules."
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For those who are interested, the firing of Denis Horgan from
Tony's radio show also generated a great deal of response from
the show's listeners, particularly those who listened to the
internet feed, including an e-mail and snail mail campaign that
actually got the ESPN Radio Message Board shut down. Here
are a couple of links that explain what's happened:


What's sad, is that the Kornheiser radio show, and not PTI, are
actually innovative, smart and pretty interesting programs. ESPN
stepped outside of its normal comfort zone with these programs,
but they seem uncomfortable dealing with talent that doesn't fit
into their corporate culture.
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Chris Moore filled in for TK again yesterday and added that Tony will be out next week also. That makes 3 weeks in a row without being on air. My guess is the ESPN lawyers have been examining his contract looking for the cheapest way to boot him. I seriousy doubt that he'll be back.

The Denis Horgan firing baffles me. I was on vacation when it happened so I didn't hear any details about what happened. I've listened to the internet feed often though and Denis was always one of the nicest guys on the show. It seems Disney/ESPN has seriously overracted to the whole situation but its been brewing for many months now. Tony has constantly pushed the envelope by saying negative things about the show, management, ESPN, and incredibly enough, even sponsors. I can understand TK being angry about the Horgan firing but when you're getting paid $500,00 a year...not including what he gets for PTI and his Post column...maybe you should can the rhetoric and just do your job. $500,000 a year for a nationally syndicated show that most people would kill for!

I'm a fan of The Tony Kornheiser show but I also enjoyed Michael Kay who filled in for Tony last week. I've enjoyed Chris Moore who filled in for Tony this week and I'll probably like whoever fills in next week. I'm a sports fan first and a Tony Kornheiser fan second. If Tony doesn't come back I wish him the best...I'm sure he'll do well and maybe even sign up with another network. All I can add is you have to grow up sometime and maybe now is the time for Tony to do so.
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Are you the "Great Cornholio"? Also do you have a problem with chocolate and need teepee? Your real name is Beavis .. right?
You guys like him? He drives me nuts, not as much as Tony Bruno, but still....
Kornheiser sucks but not as bad as that Sportsbabe. Rome is god!

OH damn, the Sportsbabe was just bad. I remember they used to simulcast her radio show on ESPN 2 for a couple hours.....it was just BAD BAD BAD
Originally posted by kmccoach
Kornheiser sucks but not as bad as that Sportsbabe. Rome is god!

Sorry coach, Rome is the most overrated sports talk host out there. If he didn't repeat everything he says umpteen thousand times the show would be 30 minutes long. Get over it, clone:D :p
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