Beginning in August 2013, Paul Finebaum, considered a leading sports authority in the South and the “Voice of the SEC,” will join ESPN, Inc. with a daily radio show and a variety of appearances across ESPN platforms from ESPN’s Charlotte, N.C. studios. Then starting in August 2014, when the recently announced SEC Network launches, a television simulcast of Finebaum’s radio show will anchor the afternoon lineup.
ESPN Audio will be syndicating the Paul Finebaum show and distribution agreements will be forthcoming. Additionally, Finebaum will appear on a variety of other shows and outlets, including SportsCenter, College Football Live, College GameDay and in ESPN The Magazine.
As the former 20-year host of The Paul Finebaum Show which was syndicated on stations from South Carolina to St. Louis and heard nationally on Sirius XM, Finebaum is known for his ability to tap into the deep-seated emotions college sports fans have for their teams. As both moderator and provocateur, Finebaum has curated a forum for passionate discussion and debate across the spectrum of college sports while amassing an audience of millions nationwide. Additionally, his former home station, WJOX, became the second-highest rated sports station in the country, thanks largely to Finebaum. His show attracted nearly a quarter of the adult male listeners in Birmingham, ESPN’s highest-rated college football television market the past several years.
Justin Connolly, senior vice president, programming for the SEC Network said, “Paul has incredible range as a writer, radio personality and reporter. We’re excited to have him join the ESPN team. Paul’s show will create appointment television for viewers and differentiate SEC Network programming in the marketplace.”
Finebaum is the first on-air hire for the SEC Network. Additional announcements will be made in the coming months.
Finebaum said, “I remember something the late Steve Jobs said: `Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.’ In other words, dare to be different. That’s what ESPN and the SEC Network are about. You have the extraordinary coalescence of the premier brand in sports combined with the preeminent conference in intercollegiate athletics.’’
About Paul Finebaum
After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Finebaum found his way to Birmingham in 1980 and became an award-winning columnist and investigative reporter for the Birmingham Post-Herald and later the Mobile Press-Register. In 2001, he launched the Paul Finebaum Radio Network and quickly became the leading voice on college football in the South. The Tennessean named him one of the SEC’s top power brokers in 2002, and in 2009, the Orlando Sentinel named him one of the SEC’s 10 most powerful people.
The SEC Network
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multiplatform network which will launch in August 2014. The new network and its accompanying digital platform will air SEC content 24/7 including more than 1,000 events in its first year. The network will televise approximately 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming will also include studio shows, original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, signing day and pro days coverage. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively on the digital platform.
About ESPN Audio
ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes Radio, ESPNRadio.com and ESPN Podcasts comprises ESPN Audio. ESPN Radio, which launched January 1, 1992, provides more than 9,000 hours of talk and event content annually, reaching 24 million listeners a week on 450 nationwide stations, including more than 360 full-time affiliates and clearance in the top 25 markets with owned and/or operated FM stations in New York and Dallas, AM signals in Chicago and Los Angeles. ESPN Radio programming is also available on Sirius XM and via digital distributors Slacker Radio and Tune In. ESPN Deportes Radio is the only all-sports Spanish radio network, and has 46 affiliates covering 72% of the Hispanic DMA with stations in the top 10 Hispanic markets, including owned and/or operated stations in New York and Dallas.
ESPNRadio.com is the most listened to live stream of any terrestrial broadcaster in the world — reaching more than 714,000 unique listeners per month who logged more than 95.3 million total listening hours in 2012, with 11.2 million session starts per month (source: Ando Media). ESPN Podcasts logged 188.8 million completed downloads in 2012 via the ESPN PodCenter and iTunes.
Media contact: Keri Potts, ESPN PR or [email protected]; 860-766-4483