Media Musings: SportsChannel8: The Radio Show headed to weekdays


by R.L. Bynum

“SportsChannel 8: The Radio Show” moving to weekdays on 99.9

How would it sound if you converted a group text thread among sports-obsessed friends into a voice conversation and put it on the radio?

For the last 15 months, that answer has come Saturday mornings on WCMC (99.9 The Fan) with “SportsChannel 8: The Radio Show.” It’s a sometimes unconventional sports talk show that takes unexpected turns at times and includes its share of humor. 

Triangle listeners are about to get more of that. 

The SportsChannel8 crew will do their last Saturday show this weekend and, starting Thursday, Aug. 15, “SC8” will air weekdays from 10 a.m.–noon on 99.9. 

ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” which currently airs in that slot, shifts to Buzz Sports Radio (99.3 FM in Raleigh, 96.5 FM in Durham and 99.9HD2) on Aug. 15, allowing all three hours (until 1 p.m.) to air. On 99.9, the third hour hasn’t aired because “The David Glenn Show” runs from noon to 3 p.m.

The “SC8” crew always has a target to belittle. Before the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup, it was the Caps. Did you hear that Virginia became the first team to lose to a No.16 seed? There have been weekly reminders even though the Cavs won the 2019 NCAA title.

“The genesis of our show is not analysis, we’re certainly not ex-jocks and we’re not really former writers,” said Hayes Permar, the voice heard most consistently on the “SC8” radio show. “We are fans who have consumed ACC/North Carolina sports for our whole lives.”

All of the other locally produced sports radio shows that air on Capitol Broadcasting Company’s sports stations feature hosts who are transplants to the state. That’s not the case for this show. Permar grew up in Raleigh and the crew of Ben Swain (Durham), Weather Moose (Johnston County … well, if you listen to the show, you knew that!), Brian Geisinger (Winston-Salem), Josh Goodson (LaGrange) and producer Jonathan Rand (Garner) all are native North Carolinians.

“Generally speaking, we’ll be talking about the topics as we do in our own text threads before we had a radio show,” said Permar, who is also the public-address announcer for the Class A Carolina League’s Carolina Mudcats. “Partly reacting, like, ‘whoa, can’t believe somebody did this,’ but then follow that up with a joke about that person.”

He realizes that there are serious discussions to be had about sports, but wants to try to keep it fun.

“I’ve always enjoyed sports as a less-serious thing and kind of get off on tweaking people who do take the not-serious stuff too seriously,” Permar said. 

It will be the first local weekday show in that time slot in the station’s 10-year history. It’s the first 10 a.m.–noon weekday local show on a CBC sports radio stations since “The Sports Shop with Reese & Kmac” (with Errol Reese and Kevin McClendon) left that time slot on WDNC for 6–9 morning drive time in June 2016. It’s also the first time CBC has had local programming on one of its stations (counting the syndicated statewide “David Glenn Show”) from 6 a.m.–7 p.m. since then.

“Sportschannel8 started off as something to make Hayes and myself laugh, and then turned into entertainment for our whole group,” Swain said via email. “It’s not like we planned for this to become a radio show. But it’s been a natural progression and we’ve been such a great fit with 99.9 The Fan. All that feels different is that we’ve got a bigger group to laugh along with us now.”

Developing an on-air rapport with so many studio voices isn’t as much of a challenge as you might think because they already had a bond before they started doing the show together. 

“We’re just going to be ourselves and be relatable,” Swain said. “We have such a strong friendship with each other on the show and we’re excited to bring new listeners into our circle.” 

Dennis Glasgow, the programming director for sports audio at CBC, approached Permar with the idea of a show before it started in April 2018. Again with the move to weekdays, it was Glasgow who suggested it. 

Glasgow said he and Brian Maloney, the vice president of radio at CBC, listened intently when the “SC8” show started on Saturdays.

“We obviously liked what we heard. We’d been talking about adding another local show to our weekday lineup if we came upon something that was very different than anything currently on our station,” Glasgow said via email. “As for listeners, nothing but positive feedback and how much they’ve enjoyed the Saturday show. We hope this affection for the show will translate over to our weekday listeners.”

There is a long history of Triangle sports talk shows in the late-morning weekday time slot, including Mike Solarte’s “The Sports Bar” and Chris Clark’s “The Show” on WRBZ (850 The Buzz), with “The Drive with Taylor Zarzour,” Bomani Jones’ “The Three Hour Lunch Break,” Morgan Patrick’s “The Sports Pig” and “The Sports Experience” with Chris Morris and Tim Hall on WDNC (620 The Bull).

“SC8” is the latest show to move from late Saturday mornings to weekdays locally, following Jones, the co-host of ESPN TV’s “High Noon,” Glenn and “The Sports Shop.” 

Although Permar says they are “radio outsiders,” he has years of radio experience, beginning with his time years ago as a guest producer on WRBZ, when he produced every show at one time or another on the station.

During his five years as the producer of Glenn’s show from 2011 to 2016, he gained plenty of on-air experience, and even scored an interview with President Barack Obama for the show in 2015.

“Part of the reason I took the David Glenn job was it’s a solo-host show, so the next person talks,” Permar said. “There will be times when the next person who talks will be me. I was definitely not a co-host on that show but it didn’t feel foreign to talk on the radio and that’s probably where I was more inclined, anyway.”

He first became interested in sports radio listening to “The Jim Rome Show” around 2007 or 2008. After dabbling in newspapers as a sports clerk for The Herald-Sun, he turned his attention to radio, although he spent nearly two years as a writer/producer for Third Floor Productions in Washington, D.C.

“I listened to more and sort of liked the feel,” Permar said. “I think sports radio has evolved from a caller calling in with an opinion. It’s evolved into an entertainment platform. There are still some opinions, starting with the host and some callers. But I think the format has evolved into something that we would want more to be a part of. I would not have wanted to do a radio show as it was done 15 years ago.”

That years-ago format commonly was a host expressing an opinion on a subject — back before they were called “hot takes” — followed by caller after caller weighing in positively or negatively.

He expects to be more interactive with listeners, but says that could involve social media at times instead of taking calls.

Permar and Rand, who will be part of every show, worked together outside of radio a part of a couple of productions of Ira David Wood III’s “A Christmas Carol.”

The number of the others on any given day will vary, giving the show as few as three voices and as many as four or five. In addition, Chip Patterson, a writer for CBS Sports, will appear on the show for an hour on Mondays and Thursdays.

“I think we’ll try to create the feel of the Saturday show with a little organized chaos. I think we might be experimental some in format,” Permar said.

Each member of his crew brings a different element to the show, starting with Swain, who Permar calls “one of the funniest guys I know” and Weather Moose, the purveyor of the popular Johnston County Weather Report segment.

“For me, I don’t feel like I’m funny enough alone to say, ‘yes, we are going to do a humorous sports show,’ ” Permar said. “But when you’ve got Ben, it’s, ‘all right, that’s our funny joke guy.’ Moose plays this great character and is fairly funny in his own right. The rest of us get the whole feel where sometimes we’ll throw in a great one-liner and we have just the general attitude of not taking ourselves or sports too seriously. I think it makes for a pretty good mix.” 

Although he likes to give listeners a reason to laugh, Permar realizes attempting to do that can have its pitfalls.

“The thing about humor, it’s going to fail some percentage of the time,” he said. “You always worry that somebody’s just tuning in for the first time and you try a segment and you know that it fell flat and they think that’s you trying to be funny and that’s an example.” 

Brian Geisinger, who brings basketball expertise and the millennial perspective, and Josh Goodson, whose specialty is gambling information, should be able to appear on the show at least three times a week, Permar said.

Goodson often is one of the first to post gambling lines for local teams on Twitter.

“We don’t pretend like we take it too seriously or that we’re giving some great gambling advice. So, again, he’s just a natural fit for him to do that,” Permar said.

The odds are that late mornings on Triangle airwaves are about to get more fun.

Saturdays on 99.9 won’t have SC8 or Logan

Not only will Saturday mornings be without “SC8,” former East Carolina coach Steve Logan won’t return to the station to do his popular game-day football show this season.

With the exception of the 2015 season, when Logan was the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, the informative and wildly popular show had a several-years run. He also had been on several CBC platforms, including the internet and WRAL-TV.

“With our expanded weekday local sports talk, we have decided to invest and put our resources into our weekday programming,” Glasgow said. “Logan is a great guy. He’ll be missed.”

The only local Saturday morning programming after this weekend will be two podcasts that have been on spring/summer hiatus. Both return Aug. 31. The “Out of My League” podcast with Candace Cooper and Brenden Whitted will air Saturdays at 8 a.m. on WCMC, with Lauren Brownlow’s “Topics & Takes,” in which she usually interviews someone in the sports media world, airing at 9 a.m.

Both podcasts become available for download late each week.

“Adam & Joe” will be half-hour shorter

Starting Aug. 15, “Adam and Joe,” the afternoon drive-time show featuring Adam Gold and Joe Ovies, will end a half-hour earlier, going from 3–6:30 p.m.

Dennis Cox will be host from 6:30–7 p.m. of a new daily recap show called “Best of 99.9 The Fan,” which will be available for download as a podcast after its conclusion. Other than the addition of this show and “SportsChannel 8,” the weekday 99.9 lineup is unchanged.

“SportsCenter All Night” airs from 1–5 a.m., “First and Last with Jason Fitz” from 5–6 a.m., “Golic & Wingo” from 6–10 a.m., “The David Glenn Show” from noon–3 p.m., “Spain & Company” with Sarah Spain and guest co-hosts from 7–9 p.m. and “Freddie & Fitzsimmons” with Freddie Coleman and Ian Fitzsimmons from 9 p.m.–1 a.m. All of the national shows are ESPN Radio programs.

Exiting the Buzz Sports Radio lineup as of Aug. 15 will be “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.” 

The lineup on Buzz Sports Radio will be: CBS Sports Radio’s “After Hours with Amy Lawrence” from 2–6 a.m., CBS Sports Radio’s “Taz & The Moose” with Peter “Taz” Senercia and Marc “The Moose” Malusis from 6–7 a.m., “The Sports Shop” from 7–10 a.m., ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” from 10 a.m.–1 p.m., ESPN Radio’s “The Stephen A. Smith Show” from 1–3 p.m., ESPN Radio’s “The Will Cain Show” from 3–6 p.m., “Spain & Company” from 6–9 p.m., “Freddie & Fitzsimmons” from 9 p.m.–midnight and CBS Sports Radio’s “Ferrall on the Bench” with Scott Ferrall from midnight–2 a.m.  

The lineup on WDNC (620 The Ticket) will be “After Hours with Amy Lawrence” from 2–6 a.m., “Taz & The Moose” from 6–9 a.m., “The DA Show” with Damon Amendolara from 9 a.m.–noon, “The Jim Rome Show” from noon–3 p.m., “Tiki and Tierney” with Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney from 3–6 p.m. and “Ferrall on the Bench” from 10 p.m.–2 a.m. All shows on that station are CBS Sports Radio programs.

WCMC and Buzz Sports Radio will each air ESPN Radio all weekend (except for live sports programming and the two podcasts Saturday mornings on 99.9) and WDNC airs CBS Sports Radio all weekend with the exception of live sports.

Chris Morris leaves CBC

Chris Morris has left CBC after 12 years, working his last shift on Friday.

Morris briefly was co-host of a late-morning weekday show and had a prominent role on the WDNC morning drive-time program “The World’s Strongest Morning Show.” He also made frequent appearances — although not in recent months — on “Adam and Joe,” giving picks against the spread as “Kenny Rogers.”

Most recently, he’s given updates on 99.9 during “Golic and Wingo,” among other duties.

To get local newspaper baseball coverage, you have to go outside Triangle

The best print newspaper coverage of the Durham Bulls isn’t from The Herald-Sun, which has a decades-long tradition (until a couple of years ago) of covering the nationally known Triple-A franchise. Since The N&O and H-S are basically the same sports section, The N&O obviously doesn’t cover the team, either.

Bob Sutton, the sports editor of the Times-News in Burlington, covers many Bulls home games and is the closest to a newspaper beat writer that the team has. 

Sutton reported manager Brady Williams’ two-game suspension and the promotion of intriguing two-way player Brendan McKay, neither of which was reported on by the N&O/H-S. The Triangle newspapers had nothing about the Bulls’ combined no-hitter at Gwinnett. (other than a wire story on their website that you had to search to find).

Sutton also leads extensive coverage of the Burlington Royals when the Appalachian League season starts. That means that a nearby rookie-league team (Appalachian League) gets better newspaper coverage than the area’s Triple-A team or its high-Class A team, the Carolina Mudcats. The Mudcats were no-hit at Wilmington earlier this month and it didn’t get mentioned by The N&O or H-S.

Even since the Burlington Royals season started in June, Sutton has covered the Bulls.

The Wilson Times has short writeups on Mudcats games and writes stories like this one on shortstop Brice Turang, but there isn’t really dedicated print coverage of them. 

In the first week of the season, the only daily mention of the Bulls or Mudcats in the print editions of the N&O or H-S was in a since-discontinued glance at the upcoming games. For most of the season, the only mention either gets is when the Bulls are at home because that means the TV broadcast of the game on WRAZ-2 (50-2, a MeTV affiliate) is part of the TV sports listings. Even then, it usually is listed incorrectly as airing on “FOX.”

The only staff story about the Bulls team was one opening week about Kean Wong. There was a story when Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton joined the Scranton-Wilkes Barre team in Durham on rehab assignments. There was a story by its food writer on bourbon and wine events at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

There have been no stories on the Mudcats team in the Triangle newspapers this season. The only mention in a staff story this season was one about Independence Day fireworks displays.

In contrast, several newspapers in the state cover the minor-league teams in their area. In addition to Burlington, they include The Charlotte Observer (the International League’s Charlotte Knights), the Fayetteville Observer (Carolina League’s Fayetteville Woodpeckers), the News & Record of Greensboro (South Atlantic League’s Greensboro Grasshoppers) and the Winston-Salem Journal (Carolina League’s Winston-Salem Dash.) 

Similarly, The N&O hasn’t mentioned the Coastal Plain League’s Holly Springs Salamanders, whose season started in June, while other newspapers in the state cover CPL teams, including the Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville SwampDogs), The High Point Enterprise (High Point-Thomasville Hi-Toms), The Wilson Times (Wilson Tobs) and the Daily Advance of Elizabeth City (Edenton Steamers).

Herald-Sun per-copy price increases

This week, the per-copy cost of The Herald-Sun increased from $1 to $1.50 Monday through Friday and from $2 to $3 on Sunday.

The McClatchy Company, which owns the H-S and The N&O, increased the per-copy price for the Durham newspaper and newspapers in Biloxi, Miss. (The Sun Herald, $1.50 daily, $3.99 Sunday); Rock Hill, S.C. (The Herald, no daily change, $3 on Sunday); Columbia, S.C. (The State, $2 and $3.99); Modesto, Calif. (The Modesto Bee, $1.50 and $3.99) and Wichita, Kansas (The Wichita Bee, $2 and $3.99).

The Herald-Sun is the only McClatchy paper with a single-copy price increase that also is included among the four newspapers that have eliminated Saturday print edition. McClatchy is eliminating Saturday print editions at two additional newspapers as of Nov. 2: in San Luis Obispo, Calif., (The Tribune) and in Belleville, Ill., (Belleville News-Democrat)

There is no change for now in the price of The N&O, which remains $2 daily and $4 on Sunday.

There are short-term free ACCN options

If your provider doesn’t offer ACC Network by the time it launches Aug. 22, there is a way to get it for free for 17 days by using the free trial memberships that YouTubeTV, Fubo and Hulu Live offer.

You can try that, and hope a deal is reached so that you don’t have to change providers. This is particularly challenging for Dish Network subscribers who still are under contract and thus can’t change providers without large fees.

For YouTubeTV and Fubo, you can cancel after the five-day free trial period ends and you can cancel Hulu Live after seven-day free trial.

After that, the most inexpensive route is to get Sling TV, which costs $15 for the first month. After that, it costs $20 a month.

Dish Network customers have the additional issue because the satellite-TV provider has pulled Fox regional sports networks from its menu in a dispute. N.C. State’s Sept. 7 game against Western Carolina will be on regional sports networks as well as Georgia Tech’s Sept. 14 home game against The Citadel.

ACC Network Extra to stream 400 live events

ACCN announced that ACC Network Extra (which it says will now go by the ACCNX initialism) will stream 400 live ACC events during the school year, including five football games.

Those streamed games, only available to customers with ACCN access through their TV provider, will include 168 volleyball matches, 108 women’s soccer games, 91 men’s soccer games, 42 field hockey games and the ACC men’s and women’s cross country championships.

In addition, all games that air on ACCN will be available for replay on ACCNX for 30 days after the event.

North Carolina-related sports stories of note

In the News & Record of Greensboro, Jeff Mills talked to North Carolina native Jim Nantz — in Greensboro for the PGA stop there over the weekend — about his roots in North Carolina for him and his father, who played football for Guilford College along with several other topics.

In The Athletic, Jourdan Rodrigue writes that Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly has found his place of growth and peace, but it’s not on the football field.

In The N&O and H-S, Steve Wiseman writes that Duke’s Jack White regained his 3-point shooting stroke over the summer playing for Australia in the World University Games after a prolonged shooting slump last season.

In The Athletic, C.L. Brown writes that former UNC player P.J. Hairston is trying to get slimmer and says he’ll be smarter off the court as he hopes to revive his NBA career.

Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler writes that Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid plans to continue to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. Reid talked about the reasons and also staying in touch with his heritage.

In the Cape Cod Times of Hyannis, Mass., Aria Gerson writes about how the Cape Cod League, a prominent amateur wooden-bat league, never has been shy about hiring women. One mentioned is Elizabeth Layton, the public-address announcer for the Harwich Mariners, who formerly worked in sales for the Carolina Mudcats and the Carolina Hurricanes.