Miami-based ESPN star Dan Le Batard isn’t one to mince words, and he didn’t on Monday morning in a farewell message as his show’s local-only hour spent its final day on 790 The Ticket before leaving local airwaves.
“We didn’t choose this,” he said. “We were evicted from our home.”
In a lengthy, emotional message, his first public comments on the changes, Le Batard called it “a bit of a heartbreaking day,” adding, “We feel a combination of stunned and sad and wounded and blindsided and disrespected ... but also grateful.”
The gratitude: “That 790 helped us become what we are [and] gifted our radio kids the local hour for the last year, so that Roy [Bellamy] and Mike [Ryan] and Billy [Gil] and Chris [Cote] could make mistakes and grow radio wings in morning drives in a major market.”
Le Batard referred to the show’s so-called “Shipping Container,” who drove the local hour.
Le Batard also thanked 790 for Monday’s one last opportunity to say goodbye, and said he was “most of all grateful that South Florida — always South Florida, forever South Florida — is responsible for every damn professional blessing we’ve ever had.”
Le Batard hosts the “Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz” on ESPN Radio and ESPN2, and “Highly Questionable” on ESPN, in addition to his Le Batard And Friends Podcast Network.
The 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. national radio show was preceded by a “local-only” hour that ended Monday, falling victim to wholesale changes made by Entercom Communications, which has owned both 790 the Ticket and erstwhile rival 560 WQAM for the past two years.
Entercom gave employees only a couple of days notice before making wholesale changes to both station’s lineups. The 790 lineup will now be more locally oriented while the 560 lineup (the station now is called “560 The Joe”) will be more nationally oriented.
The Le Batard national ESPN show will now be heard locally on 560.
The show’s local hour will continue, however. It still will be taped every weekday and continue to appear daily on the show’s local-hour podcast — the most downloaded hour of the podcast, as a matter of fact. The local hour will continue to be linked from the show’s social media platforms.
The popular Shipping Container podcast, “Mystery Crate,” also continues under the Le Batard And Friends umbrella.
It was the abruptness of Entercom’s major moves and lack of forewarning that seemed to leave Le Batard feeling “a combination of stunned and sad and wounded and blindsided and disrespected.” (“More hurt than angry,” he added.)
He even poked fun at his new station’s new name: “The worst name I’ve ever heard. 560 The Joe. Jesus Christ!”
Moving forward, “790 can keep the shell of the body. The soul comes with us,” Le Batard declared. “We’re moving, not leaving. You’ll still be able to get all the things you love. And all the things you hate.”
Le Batard made bold promises for the future of the national show: “The show is going to be bigger and better than it has ever been, with ESPN’s full backing — the full bleeping backing of the Worldwide Leader in Sports — after I’ve come through a real difficult time with the worldwide leader.”
(The latter referred to his recently running afoul of the network’s no-politics edict.)
“I’m promising you that this thing you love is only going to get more resources and strength from here, and I’m promising you this thing is going to remain every bit as Miami as we’ve always tried to make it. And I’ve kept my promises to the only city I’ve ever loved.”