Dan Le Batard stepped away from ESPN less than a week ago. For those subscribed to The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz as a podcast, however, he hasn’t missed a beat in the days since, with some notable changes to the show.
The show has continued on, but is no longer under the ESPN banner, and without a radio broadcast deal. As a result, Le Batard has spent a lot more time talking political and social events (and it was quite the week for it), and the show is no longer restricted in terms of using obscenities on air, which Le Batard and his crew made abundantly clear.
Le Batard and company have made it very clear that they haven’t signed with a new company yet, calling the ongoing shows their “pirate radio” broadcasts. He says that they are in negotiations, and we got some more details on what that looks like today. Notably, former ESPN president and Le Batard ally John Skipper is involved.
According to the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson, the two are teaming up for a new media venture. Skipper will remain with DAZN, though in a reduced capacity, and will help Le Batard sell his radio show/podcast, as the two move to launch their new company.
NEW: Former ESPN personality Dan Le Batard lines up next venture, but big decision still looms: https://t.co/m6ADKHHGFG
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 9, 2021
Among the potential landing spots for The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, per Jackson, are many of the audio behemoths that have been floated since news broke that he’d be leaving ESPN. Spotify and SiriusXM Radio are both major possibilities. Spotify has built out its sports offerings in a major way over the last year, buying Bill Simmons’ company The Ringer. Le Batard and Simmons, another ESPN ex-pat, have what appears to be a solid relationship, though it doesn’t sound like Le Batard plans to be part of the Ringer umbrella, however things play out here.
Le Batard has decided to launch a new media company with former ESPN president John Skipper, according to a source. Skipper hired Le Batard at ESPN in 2011 and the two have remained close.
The source said Skipper would take the lead in finding a platform for Le Batard’s program, which blends sports, pop culture, occasional political talk, quirky topics and anything that Le Batard and co-host Jon Weiner wish to discuss.
When John Skipper resigned from ESPN in 2017 after his drug issues were made public, Dan Le Batard issued a very emotional public defense of his former boss on his radio show.
Around the time that today’s news broke, Le Batard posted a video imploring his fans to subscribe and share his newly-independent podcast as negotiations with companies heat up. He did not mention Skipper’s involvement in the call to action.
— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) January 9, 2021
“Right now, we are homeless, but we are homeless because we know we can untether ourselves from the Worldwide Leader in Sports because the community comes with us,” Le Batard said. “We don’t believe that, we know it. You have already shown us. You have made us the No. 1 sports podcast in America, and we’re going to keep giving it to you this way.”
“I’m being naked about this: we’re heading into negotiations. Everybody wants us, because you, because the army that follows us.”