This week, ESPN Radio celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Launched January 1, 1992 in the corner of the second floor in the second building at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters, ESPN Radio now has 300 full-time affiliates and owned stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. Twenty years later the network inhabits new digital studios which opened June 1, 2011 and has three of its programs simulcast on HDTV.
“In 20 years, we’ve gone from airing only weekday, drive-time commentaries on 104 radio stations, to the amazing success of Mike & Mike, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Scott Van Pelt, Doug Gottlieb, and having ESPN Radio become the most listened sports stream on the planet,” said Mo Davenport, Senior Vice President of ESPN Audio. “Additionally, our local markets give fans the local angle on air and on line. It is a tribute to our listeners and our team, which pushes us forward to greater success in serving the sports fan.”
That team includes Mike Tirico, who is prepping to call Monday’s BCS Championship Game for ESPN Radio (7:30 p.m. ET). Tirico is an ESPN Radio original, having hosted weekend evening shows in January 1992. The network broadcast the initial Bowl Championship Series in 1999.
Some ESPN Audio Tidbits:
- Broadcasting icons Frank Deford, Roy Firestone, Dick Schaap, Brent Musburger and Chris Berman provided weekday morning and afternoon drive-time commentaries from Day 1
- NASA Space shuttle pilot Ken Ham, piloting the crew of STS-124 to the International Space Station, was allowed to bring personal belongings that represent him, and he reached out to ESPN and ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning for mementoes that would fit NASA’s restrictions
- ESPN Radio launched the ESPN HD Radio Network on June 7, 2008 introducing content and associated delivery system for HD Radio
- Michael Jordan’s “last shot” lifting the Bulls past Utah for their last NBA championship was described nationally by Jim Durham and Dr. Jack Ramsay June 14, 1998
- ESPN Radio presented live coverage of all 64 games of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the first live soccer broadcasts by ESPN Radio
- ESPN Radio, on June 1, 2011, opened its state-of-the-art customized facilities featuring talk studios, dedicated control rooms and SportsCenter booths.
- ESPN Radio’s “Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction” has raised more than $4,900,000 in its seven years
About ESPN Audio
ESPN Audio is the country’s largest sports radio network, providing more than 9,000 hours of talk and event content annually to 24 million listeners a week on more than 700 stations, including owned stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, and more than 300 full-time affiliates. ESPN Audio’s event programming features the NBA (and The Finals), MLB (and the World Series), college football (including the BCS and regular-season schedule) the USGA’s U.S. Open, and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Weekday studio programming includes: Mike and Mike in the Morning (Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic) 6-10 a.m. (simulcast on ESPN2); The Herd with Colin Cowherd 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (simulcast on ESPNEWS); The Scott Van Pelt Show 1-4 p.m. (simulcast on ESPNEWS 1-3 p.m.); The Doug Gottlieb Show 4-7 p.m.; and Hill & Schlereth 7-10 p.m. ESPN Radio also offers the only all-sports Spanish radio network, ESPN Deportes, which has 42 affiliates with stations in eight of the top 10 Hispanic markets, including owned KZMP-AM 1540 in Dallas. ESPN Deportes Radio programming features top soccer events and leagues such as Copa America, Spain’s La Liga, MLS, Mexican First Division, and also Sunday Night Baseball.