Watch: McGarr Symposium on Sports and Society
Since the 1987 launch of WFAN in New York as the first all-sports radio station, sports radio has been a vital part of the sports media landscape. In recent years, changes in the industry, the emergence of new technologies, and the expansion audiences have redefined how we think of the synergy between radio and sports. This symposium will assess the future of sports radio through a discussion of station formats, networks and conglomeration, the growth of podcasting, relationships between hosts and audiences, and questions of identity, culture, and representation.
With that context, CSCM hosted the 2020 McGarr Symposium on Sports and Society: The Future of Sports Radio and Podcasting. The symposium was held as a Zoom webinar on October 22. This discussion will feature five professional (sports) "radio" hosts in dialogue with Eric Ferguson, longtime morning show headliner on Chicago's 101.9 The Mix. Panelists include
David Kaplan is a radio personality who hosts Kap and J. Hood on ESPN 1000 in Chicago in addition to co-hosting Sports Talk Live, a daily sports roundtable discussion show on NBC Sports Chicago. Kaplan has worked in Chicagoland media for some 30 years, hosting several noted drive-time radio shows as well has pre- and post-game broadcast of the Chicago Cubs. After a 21-year career at WGN Radio, Kaplan signed a multi-year deal with ESPN in 2015, where he works with Jonathan Hood on their morning sports-talk show. He is a graduate of Hamline University, where he received a B.A. in English.
Raheel Ramzanali has worked in Houston media since 2007, hosting radio shows 1560 The Game and ESPN Houston. Currently, he is a sports contributor to ABC13, where he hosts the 'No Layups' podcast, and a sports anchor on NTV Houston. In addition to radio and TV, Ramzanali also worked as the stadium reporter for the Houston Roughnecks in the XFL. He graduated with high honors from the School of Journalism in UT-Austin’s Moody College of Communication.
Sarah Spain is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning radio host, TV personality and writer. She is the host of “Spain and Fitz.” airing weeknights on national ESPN radio, host of ESPN’s “That’s What She Said” podcast, a writer for espnW.com, a regular panelist on “Around The Horn” and “Highly Questionable” and a “SportsCenter” reporter. She won the 2019 Dan Jenkins Medal for Excellence in Sportswriting for her ESPN The Magazine article “Runs n the Family.” She is a graduate of Cornell University.
Tamryn Spruill hosts “The Hard Screen” podcast and works as a freelance journalist and author, covering women’s basketball, with issues of gender, race and sexuality central to her reporting. She has followed the WNBA since its 1996 inception and is writing a book (published by ABRAMS Books) about its exciting history. Spruill’s bylines include The Athletic, The New York Times, ZORA, Teen Vogue, Bleacher Report, and Swish Hoops, where she also has served as editor-in-chief since 2018 when hired as the first woman to hold that position. Spruill has a B.A. from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Goddard College.
Jeff Ward hosts The Jeff Ward Show for the Statesman News Network, a streaming service produced by the Austin American-Statesman newspaper and hosted by their corporate parent Gannett Media/USA Today. Ward hosted a top-rated, afternoon drive-time radio show on AM 590 KLBJ in Austin for over 20 years, being named “Best Afternoon Show” five times by The Austin Chronicle. Ward is a graduate of UT-Austin, where he was a four-year football letterman and two-time All American place kicker, and has been a lecturer in the Moody College's Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations.
Symposium moderator Eric Ferguson is the host of Eric in the Morning on Chicago’s 101.9fm The Mix, having established himself as a fixture on the city’s radio scene. Before Chicago, Ferguson hosted morning shows in Denver, central Florida, and the scenic locations of Rockford, Illinois and Allentown, Pennsylvania. Eric in the Morning is an entertainment-based, lifestyle and caller-driven show in the Adult Contemporary format that is popular among Chicago’s 25-54 year old demographic. Ferguson is a graduate of the University of Iowa.