Sean Salisbury Returning To Sports Radio – With A Vengeance
When last we heard what was going on in the world of Sean Salisbury, he was suffering from depression brought on by a combination of things: a breakup with his wife, the death of his father, and most importantly, the deterioration of his career – no thanks to his decision to show cellphone photos of his, er, family jewels, to ladies at a bar not too far from the main campus of ESPN, where he had been employed for a dozen years.
“When the Deadspin thing happened, I thought my world was ending,” Salisbury told the New York Daily News back in March. “It was if I was a leper.”
The “Deadspin thing” he speaks of is the popular Internet home of “sports news without access, favor or discretion” exposing Salisbury’s, er, exposure by way of Blackberry that night in 2006, casting a dark cloud over his reputation ever since. He was ousted from his gig as midday host on WMVP/ESPN 1000 in Chicago after less than a year in May 2007, roughly four months after Deadspin’s report.
Then in early 2008, Salisbury suddenly resigned his post with ESPN television as an NFL analyst. Later that year, he would become a contributor to the then-new sports website OpenSports.com (the website is currently defunct).
In 2009, Salisbury once again returned to terrestrial radio, as he was signed to a three-year contract at CBS Radio-owned sports talker KRLD-FM/105.3 The Fan in Dallas. Unfortunately, he was only able to honor a quarter of that contract, as he left the station in the fall of 2009. One of the contributing factors of his dismissal at 105.3 The Fan was “personality conflicts between him and management.”
But there would be more conflict before 2009 was done: Salisbury would file a defamation lawsuit against Deadspin’s parent owner, Gawker Media, following an incessant email chain between himself and the editor of Deadspin at the time, A.J. Daulerio; Salisbury would drop the lawsuit the following summer. (Incidentally, earlier this year, Daulerio transitioned to sister website Gawker, where he currently serves as that website’s editor-in-chief.)
Since the start of the current decade, Salisbury’s presence in broadcasting has been all but visible. He starred in a pilot for a “Daily Show”-meets-”SportsCenter” series which never materialized; and this past January, he was discharged as the color commentator for the Lingerie Football League, with less than a month to go in the season.
I suppose it makes sense that, after a storied television and radio career, when the LFL cuts you loose, you would consider seeking help for depression at that point.
But give him credit, he’s still determined. Over the course of the year, Salisbury has been contributing to radio shows on sports stations across the country – notably stations owned by CBS Radio, for whom he had worked in Dallas just a few years ago. One of the shows he regularly checks into is “The Lavar Arrington And Chad Dukes Show” on WJFK/106.7 The Fan in Washington, D.C.
Another program Salisbury touches base with is hosted by the man who owned afternoon drive at WJFK for many years, Don Geronimo. Now based out of Sacramento, Geronimo holds down the fort in morning drive at KHTK/1140 The Fan. (You may have read my account of a little spat Geronimo had with a local sports columnist earlier this year.) One of the in-studio members of Geronimo’s program since 2010 is named Carmichael Dave, who used to host an evening show on KHTK. When Geronimo assumed the morning slot, Carmichael Dave – named as such because he grew up in the city of Carmichael, CA – once again was given his own show in late mornings, which followed Geronimo’s, while Dave was still very much a part of Geronimo’s program.
Until May 9. That’s when Dave was unceremoniously shown the door at KHTK. CBS Radio claims the dismissal was related to “a contract issue.”
A month since Dave’s departure from KHTK, he’ll be getting his revenge on Monday. That’s when the new Internet sports radio station TheCDNetworks.com launches. “Screw the corporate filters and infrastructure, built more around profits and content,” reads a message written by Dave on the front page of the station’s website. “Now, we can cut out the middleman and speak directly to you. No filters, no censors, no rules.”
Keep “no filters, no censors” in mind – because those two statements are the bases of the two daily programs currently offered on the CDN schedule, both of which will be co-hosted by Dave. The evening show, “Sean And Dave Uncensored,” is co-hosted by area radio veteran Sean Thomas.
As for Sean Salisbury, he will co-host the midday program on CDN whose title, “Sean And Dave Unfiltered,” gives Salisbury top billing (if only to avoid confusion with the similarly-named evening show).
It only makes sense that two sports media figures. one local, and one on a national scale – and we should point out that the other Sean in this equation was also cut loose by KHTK at some point after many years – that have something to prove are joining forces on this new Internet radio venture. But don’t let the fact that it’s Internet radio, as opposed to terrestrial radio, discredit that. “Terrestrial radio is a dying breed,” Dave writes on the CDN website. “We are helping to pioneer the future of broadcasting.”
Meanwhile, there’s still no official word on the reason for Dave’s dismissal at KHTK. Mind you, this is not meant to be a castigation of Dave’s eventual replacement on Don Geronimo’s show (disclosure: Steve Bryant has been a great acquaintance since the “Radio Racket” days). But in some cases, when a popular radio personality is let go, their next step is Internet radio, a move that’s led to positive results for former terrestrial radio hosts such as Alex Jones, and more recently, Tom Leykis (who blocked me on Twitter for some reason – ass).
That being said, Carmichael Dave’s new Internet radio station has potential to attract many River City listeners craving local sports talk, as opposed to the syndicated fare offered by Sacramento’s two sports radio stations: KHTK replaced Dave’s midday show with Dan Patrick, which is followed by Jim “No, David Stern, I Do Not Beat My Wife” Rome - both of whose shows air on three-hour tape delay; they do air the “Nick And Artie” program live in evenings, however. (KHTK had been a charter affiliate of “The Don And Mike Show” during its long run, and while syndicated and not abounding with sports content, it was adored by local listeners.) The other area sports station, ESPN 1320, appears to run all Worldwide Leader network programming around the clock during the week. Which means outside of both drivetimes on KHTK (and note that “Unfiltered” and “Uncensored,” respectively, start as soon as KHTK’s drivetime shows are done for the day), there’s clearly a void for local sports talk in Sacramento – a void that TheCDNetworks.com looks to fill.
And with Sean Salisbury’s involvement with the station, there’s the possibility of many listeners outside of Sacramento sampling the channel.
It certainly hopes to erase the taste of being fired by the LFL out of his mouth. And I understand that sometimes, you have to do what you have to do to earn a living. I’m sure deep down, Salisbury would much rather be talking sports than breaking down a blitz by Marirose Roach of the Philadelphia Passion. (Though even if he was retained by the LFL, he probably wouldn’t have had a choice – the league is forgoing the 2012-13 season.)
While Carmichael Dave will be seeking redemption, Sean Salisbury, through his new daily program, combined with the phoners to other radio stations he presumably will continue to do, is once again seeking redemption, not just on a professional scale, but a personal one.
Back in March, he told the Daily News: “I want to show people that you can survive depression and physical pain (he sustained many hits as an NFL and CFL quarterback for ten years), that you can hit bottom and bounce back.”
In this case, “back” meaning back to the future – “the future of broadcasting.”
And if the name of his new show, and his Twitter handle, are any indication, the future shall be unfiltered.