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Keith Olbermann To Host ESPN Radio 25th Anniversary Special

Paul Finebaum ESPN Radio SEC NetworkAs ESPN Radio celebrates its 25th anniversary of its launch on January 1, the network is bringing back the first voice heard on the network to host a retrospective on Wednesday, January 4.

Keith Olbermann will be joined by Tony Bruno and Chuck Wilson who also hosted the first night’s programming to host a two hour retrospective from 7-9pm and rerunning throughout the year. The network will also launch the “25 Stories in Sports from the Last 25 Years” podcast running bi-weekly starting January 9.

Upon its launch in 1992, ESPN Radio ran for eight hours nightly on Saturday and Sunday evenings. The network began weekday programming with the launch of The Fabulous Sports Babe from 10am-2pm starting in July 1994.

In 2017, ESPN Radio will celebrate its 25th anniversary, kicking off with a 25th Anniversary Special hosted by Keith Olbermann, with guests Tony Bruno and Chuck Wilson – all voices on the first ESPN Radio broadcast — airing Wednesday, Jan. 4, from 7 – 9 p.m. ET. The anniversary special will re-air on ESPN Radio periodically throughout 2017.

“ESPN Radio has been around for 25 years serving sports fans on the go wherever and whenever. We have evolved over time, adapting as sports fans have adapted, to new ways of listening while all along maintaining strong relationships with our over 500 affiliates across the country,” said Traug Keller, senior vice president, ESPN Audio. “From compelling talk programming to the strongest package of play-by-play content in the industry, ESPN Radio has consistently been the leader among sports broadcasters. We’re incredibly grateful to all the hard-working individuals who have contributed so much to the network over the years — both behind and in front of the mic. Bringing back Keith, Tony and Chuck was a way for us to tip our hats to the folks who got us started.”

Throughout 2017, ESPN Radio will revisit pivotal moments in sports from the past 25 years. From January 9 through December 11, the network will offer the bi-weekly 25 Stories in Sports from the Last 25 Years podcast series, which will be hosted by various ESPN Radio voices and discuss some of the landmark sporting events since 1992. The podcasts will be available on the ESPN app and as a series on ESPNRadio.com.

Also beginning in January, ESPN Radio will explore the Top 25 of the last 25 years – Best Coaches, Best Fights, Most Underrated Athletes and more – with one list debuting each month through 2017 on ESPNRadio.com. In addition, vignettes showcasing “This Week in Sports History” will run weekdays during ESPN Radio’s talk programming.

ESPN Radio launched on January 1, 1992, with 16 hours per week of sports news and information. The network has since grown to provide more than 9,000 hours of talk and event content annually, and reaches 20 million listeners a week on 500 nationwide stations. Over the last quarter-century, ESPN Radio has created provocative and entertaining programming including Mike & Mike, The Dan Le Batard Show, The Fabulous Sports Babe, The Dan Patrick Show, The Herd with Colin Cowherd and more.

Notable Moments in ESPN Radio History:

January 1, 1992 – ESPN Radio Network is launched, featuring 16 hours a week of sports news and information.

July 4, 1994 – ESPN Radio begins its first weekday “long?form” programming and its first show with listener calls with The Fabulous Sports Babe, weekdays from 10 a.m. ? 2 p.m.

November 14, 1995 – ESPN Radio Network acquires national radio broadcast rights to the NBA, the network’s first agreement for an event series.

September 18, 1997 – ESPN Radio and Major League Baseball announce a deal for game coverage (beginning in 1998) and a variety of other programming through the 2002 season.

October 12, 1998 – ESPN Radio becomes a 24-hour service utilizing ABC Radio’s recently purchased WMVP in Chicago, its flagship station: “ESPN Radio 1000.”

January 3, 2000 – Mike & Mike in the Morning makes its debut.

March 7, 2000 – ESPN Radio signs its 100th full-time station – WTMT-AM in Louisville, Ky.

September 1, 2001 – ESPN Radio 1050 in New York debuts as a 50,000-watt 24-hour ESPN affiliate.

January 1, 2002 – ESPN Radio celebrates its 10th anniversary. In 2002, the network adds stations giving it 700 total – including coverage in the top 50 markets – and 210 fulltime.

January 1, 2003 – Los Angeles station 710AM becomes an ESPN Radio affiliate.

April 26, 2004 – Mike & Mike makes its TV debut on ESPNEWS.

October 5, 2005 – ESPN Deportes Radio launches, the first fulltime national U.S. Spanish-language sports network, with sports talk and events, highlighted by MLB and Mexican soccer.

April 10, 2006 – ESPN.com launches PodCenter, a library of digital audio and video content from ESPN’s TV, radio and online outlets to download or play on computer.

September 2009 – The ESPN Radio app debuts, and was listed among the “Top 25 Apps for 2009” on iTunes.

April 30, 2012 – ESPN Radio in New York moves from 1050 AM to 98.7 FM. In September, the 1050 signal becomes a 24/7 ESPN Deportes Radio affiliate.

September 30, 2013 – The Dan Le Batard Show, hosted by longtime Miami journalist Dan Le Batard and Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, makes its national debut, airing weekdays, 4 – 7 p.m. and later moves to its current 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. timeslot.

January 23, 2014 – On February 3, the YES Network begins its live simulcast of ESPN New York 98.7FM’s The Michael Kay Show.

June 10, 2014 – ESPN Radio becomes the first sports content available on iTunes Radio.

January 24, 2015 – ESPN Radio debuts Spain & Prim, its first all-female hosted and produced sports talk show, presented by espnW and hosted by Sarah Spain and Prim Siripipat. It was the precursor to the current The Trifecta with Spain, Jane and Kate, hosted by Spain, Jane McManus and Kate Fagan.

March 6, 2015 – ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike celebrates its 15th anniversary with a live show from Walt Disney World in Orlando.

April 5, 2016 – Dunkumentaries, ESPN Audio’s first long-form podcast, debuts as a five episode series.

June 20, 2016 – ESPNLA 710AM becomes the flagship station for the Los Angeles Rams

Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

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