Discord and Unrest: Current and Former Employees Describe Life at NBC Sports Philly

Both Kevin Kinkead and Kyle Scott worked on this post.

We got a ton of feedback on a story published last week, titled “Some Thoughts on Whatever the Hell NBC Sports Philly is Doing.”

Beyond the reader replies, we were contacted by a number of current and former NBCSP employees, all of whom felt like the station was headed in the wrong direction due to a number of unpopular talent cuts and a wonky revamp of both the television and digital product.

We talked to a half-dozen people – a combination of off- and on-camera folks representing a variety of departments – who were interested in speaking anonymously about the issues. Leadership, money, and a lack of direction were the three topics that came up most frequently in discussion.

Before we get to that, it’s worth considering the important crossroads at which NBC Sports Philly, and all sports networks, regional and national, find themselves at the moment.

Once an indispensable part of sports fandom, cable sports networks have become less relevant in recent years. Gone are the days of fans needing to tune in for highlight shows or roundtable discussions to get brought up to speed on the news and topics of the day. New and social media, along with the continued success of sports talk radio, has rendered almost anything a sports network can show you during traditional news-block hours useless, at worst, or redundant, at best.

For the Philly sports fan, SportsNite with Neil Hartman and Leslie Gudel, or SportsRise with Ron Burke used to be appointment viewing. What’s more, it was novel in the both the breadth and depth of local coverage it provided, beginning in 1997.

The height of the cable news boom, the late 90s were shaped largely by the new and varied niches cable networks could cover, from Music TV to Court TV to sports. Not only did a network like CSN air the games, but they offered nearly around-the-clock coverage of the teams. Until then, local fans were served during off-hours by only the newspaper, sports talk radio, and a few minutes of nightly news broadcasts.

Michael Barkann, Hartman, Gudel, Burke, Dei Lynam and Derrick Gunn became mini rockstars to local sports fans. CSN was essential in a sports-dominated market.

That landscape has completely changed.

The value added by highlight, roundtable, and, to a lesser extent, debate shows is gone. The web fills that vacuum admirably while providing a platform for the average fan to engage and create. You’re now literally part of the sports conversation, whereas before you were only in branding– the voice of the fan. Suddenly, the back-and-forth of static studio shows feels boring and contrived compared to lively Twitter debates, in-depth podcast discussions, and the comment sections of social media posts. We don’t need to hear what Joel Embiid said after the game, because we can watch him celebrate or lament live on Instagram. Highlight shows serve only to reinforce the importance of clips we saw online four hours earlier, or sometimes eight hours earlier. Sites like this one (and many others) provide the continuous updates without readers having to wait for a scheduled broadcast window. Even self-important branding plays, like a “CSN Insider,” which is actually just a beat reporter who, often, is no more inside than 6-8 of their peers, or “Authentic Fan,” feel outdated and disingenous.

So, we’ll argue that NBC Sports Philly, and many other regional sports networks, are right to do away with their stale fare. From a content standpoint, that stuff is no longer interesting. From a financial standpoint, it loses money.

The decisions to do so, including the choice to let go of longtime veteran on-air folks who excel at reading a teleprompter, are not popular, but they are necessary. You can’t teach someone who is used to a camera setup, a script, multiple takes, and a tightly defined framework to just pick up their phone and be creative. [A counter to this would be someone like John Clark, who has excelled on social media and uses his access to inform fans everywhere, and not surprisingly he has been elevated in the NBC Sports-Comcast family of networks.]

More relevant to this piece, though, is what NBC Sports Philly has done in the wake of unpopular decisions and cost-cutting. Some of those decisions can be excused as NBC-led initiatives over which the local shop had little control, while others can be critiqued from a local level. Both deserve attention.

So it’s with that framework and understanding of the business dynamics that we take you inside with current and former NBC Sports Philly staffers as they identify pain points within the once-hallowed halls of the Comcast SportsNet studios.

Early on in reporting this story, it became immediately clear to us that much of the criticism focused on Vice President of Content Michelle Murray, who has been with the network since 2008, and middle management in general. The source of discord is a belief that management “simply does not have any idea what they’re doing,” according to Person 3.

That was echoed by Person 1, who said this:

“She is clueless. She doesn’t know how to manage. She doesn’t listen to experts in their departments. She knows everything. She knows more than everybody. I think the biggest problem is Michelle Murray’s lack of recognition of talent, lack of recognition of where the company is going, and lack of understanding of what the market is.”

Person 1 went on to explain that Murray was previously in charge of the newsroom, but was promoted to her new role last March, one which gives her oversight of all content decisions, according to this person. She was described by one source as being “harder on women than she is on men,” with that same person explaining that they felt like Murray viewed other women as a “threat.” That may or may not have anything to do with the recent exodus of female employees, which includes Molly Sullivan, Jess Camerato, Dei Lynam, Leslie Gudel, Leila Rahimi, Rachel Micali, Jillian Mele, Colleen Wolfe, and Sarah Baicker, among others. One source believed that Murray didn’t view Wolfe as good enough for local TV– Wolfe, however, now has a prominent role at NFL Network. Rahimi is anchoring at NBC Sports Chicago, and Mele landed a huge gig at FOX News.

Another person described interaction with Murray as an “abusive relationship,” highlighted by belittlement and other behavior that was “crazy, controlling, and weird.” There also wasn’t much praise for other managers, who were painted as not having much power or influence working under Murray. One mid-level male manager was characterized as a “toxic pig who is bad at his job.”

“It’s a boy’s club and it pays to know people,” says Person 6. Another source pointed out that the station currently does not have a female producer or director, though Breakfast on Broad was directed by a woman for the entirety of its run.

Also worth noting is that Amy Fadool is prominently featured on the network, and that Murray has a high-ranking management role.

Almost every person we spoke with was very complimentary of Andy Schwartz, the longtime web guy who basically created CSNPhilly.com and oversaw the station’s digital product.

Specifically, Schwartz, who was let go more than six months ago, was said to be one of the more outspoken voices during station meetings, offering ideas on how to improve the product and move things forward. Marshall Harris, who recently left the station when his contract was not renewed, was another person who was portrayed as “vocal” in meetings and “challenged the status quo.” Murray, according to Person 3, was “clinically insecure and threatened by good, smart, productive ideas.”

This results in what sources explain is an atmosphere where nobody is willing to speak up and make suggestions about how to keep the station ahead of the curve. It’s a situation where employees would rather just “shut up and get paid as long as possible” instead of trying to “work together to make things better, but risk getting fired,” as Person 2 told us.

Brian Monihan, the station’s president, has, according to sources, addressed the workforce twice in the past year – once when Breakfast on Broad was cancelled, and again when a round of layoffs took place last November. “BOB” went through a rollercoaster of ups and downs over two years, with three different executive producers working on a show that some say had little support and an unclear directive from above. The program’s cancellation resulted in the eventual reassignment of Barrett Brooks and Rob Ellis, while Baicker and Mele ultimately left the station.

Specific charges against BOB from within center on the notion that there was a half-assed effort to make the show succeed. On one hand, NBC threw it’s heavy promotional might into marketing the show – including during live game broadcasts – but then relegated it to The Comcast Network, now NBC Sports Philly+, giving it little chance of success. It rarely registered in the ratings.

This is an observation that is in line with our beliefs on NBC’s use of specific formats. It seems they occasionally are only willing to go halfway with a modern product. BOB, while it wasn’t perfect and had difficulty attracting guests, was fine for what it was and, we feel, a better option than a SportsRise-like show or format for the reasons already discussed. But it still played second fiddle to the more traditional format and got relegated to the JV network, meaning it didn’t pick up important carry-over viewers from games the previous night.

Similarly, End Game, the more informal post-game show NBC Sports Philly occasionally airs after its regular post-game show, feels like the more suitable and modern version of the format, but the network seems to be hesitant to embrace it as a viable product and thus gives it little chance to succeed.

With regard to Monihan, his name only came up one other time in our discussions, with a former employee describing him as “awesome” and suggesting that he wasn’t part of many of the problems laid out in this piece.

But that same person lamented the lack of cohesiveness under him.

“There’s literally no communication and no direction,” said Person 4. “You can’t fire people and lay off people and punish people because they’re not doing what you want, when you never actually told them what you want.”

 

Talent and content

Harris and Camerato were mentioned just as frequently as Schwartz in our talks with current and former employees.

The gripe, specifically, was that it seemed like both were doing what management wanted, which was taking on a variety of roles, being active on social media, and showing a flexible and more wide-ranging skill set as the station “streamlined” its product.

“Here was somebody who was trying all of these different platforms,” said Person 1 of Harris. “And whether what he was doing was working or not, it wasn’t always his fault. And that was – literally –  the directive is that we are supposed to be one room, one team, try all of these fucking new things.”

We tried our best to reconcile these comments. These are legitimate gripes with recurring themes. On the flip side, there are always going to be people who disagree with specific decisions or the general direction of the station. In some cases, specific examples were provided, so you can be the judge.

Harris did a short-lived web series called The Spot, which apparently ran into union issues. That was said to have been passed off to another department that later suffered a round of layoffs. The 700 Level Show was cancelled, and there was also “an unseen pilot of a Philly sports-based knockoff of SNL Weekend update,” which sounds interesting, if nothing else.

On the web side, a floated policy was to keep articles to 500 words or less. Some say this was enforced early on and has since become a general guideline, while others feel like it never got out of the idea stage. Regardless, you’ll now find that stories rarely eclipse 500-600 words, and the lack of clarity on the issue is notable. But the concept of a 500-word limit seems like a particularly shortsighted effort and a total misread of a market that increasingly values quality and differentiation. A word limit on an article comes with the goal of viral and clickbait content baked in.

Video clips running 90 seconds in length, the types that translate well to social media, also began to be featured prominently, though it’s unclear if that was Murray’s idea or if it came down from Stamford headquarters instead. Travis Hughes, a former SB Nation editor and founder of Broad Street Hockey who joined the station three months ago, is now in charge of digital content.

There was also confusion and bewilderment over the installation of televisions in the newsroom that featured a “grid” of sorts that was supposed to serve as a schedule for digital postings. For instance, maybe a podcast was expected to be published at 10 a.m. specifically, and when that happened an employee was supposed to update the grid to let everyone else know what content had been placed on the web. We were told that employees “just ignored” the grids entirely, leaving a bunch of new televisions sitting around the newsroom, unused.

NBC Sports Philly says they are in the process of a renovation of their newsroom in an effort to modernize the equipment and workspace.

On one hand, there’s something to be said for coordination. On the other, scheduling posts can often work against the spontaneous nature of successful digital media.

All of this seems to stem from the idea that “traditional television people” are being tasked with fixing and evolving the NBCSP product, as Person 1 explains. They described an hour-long staff meeting where management talked about “how to make a viral video,” a pep rally of sorts that concluded with the playing of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” as employees left the room.

“It’s not for a lack of trying, but the approach to incorporating legitimate change has been so ham-fisted,” Person 6 says.

We contacted NBC Sports Philly and offered an on-the-record interview for this story. They respectfully declined but offered up the following statement:

“NBC Sports Regional Networks invests heavily, and the most of any RSN business entity – in all markets, in both infrastructure and personnel. This is part of our strategy to best serve the fans where and how they are consuming content, which is across multiple platforms. We understand there are some former employees whose lives have been negatively impacted, and these types of decisions are always difficult. However, we strongly believe we are in a better position today to serve our fans and grow our business.”

There’s also an element, some say, of trying to mirror ideas and formats being used by ESPN and other national networks.

One example of that is Quick Slants, the nightly Eagles show that features Gunn, Brooks, Dave Zangaro, and others. Instead of putting the talent on a desk in a roundtable fashion, each person actually faces a different camera, giving you an “Around the Horn” vibe when the reality is that they’re actually sitting 20 feet apart in the same studio:

This format was literally parodied by Barstool Sports’ short-lived Spitfire (then Spinzone), which poked fun at the two-camera setup.

There was also some internal grumbling when Reuben Frank was taken off the show, as he was seen as a knowledgeable contributor who fit well with Gunn. But the format feels forced and like a very cheap takeoff of what worked for ESPN 10 years ago.

Other me-too opportunities (the old business definition, not the modern one) have fared better. Most are in agreement that the decision to simulcast Mike Missanelli’s show was a welcome, if overdue, addition to the virtually non-existent daytime lineup. The show has even begun to register in the ratings, something that is very rare for mid-day content on the network. This is at what is presumably a very low cost (though we don’t know the specific business arrangement between NBC Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic).

 

Money

Many of these changes, particularly personnel decisions, seem to be driven by money.

The explanation from Person 2:

“That money is not flowing in Philly’s direction, nor is it to the other RSNs. The way I understand it is that the various RSNs typically delivered varied returns. Some were much more profitable than others and given more leeway on the monetary side. Philly and Bay Area were probably the most notable in that category. Others performed well enough and others operated at a loss. There are obviously a lot of variables that affect those performances (market size, fan base, team broadcast rights, etc.). However new management and directives came down from Stamford and now all RSNs are kind of being treated as equals, and with a more watchful eye over them. To put it simply, money that may have been there in the past (especially for Philly) is not there anymore.”

Person 3 offered a different perspective on the money situation:

“You’re right that these decisions aren’t financially driven. They’re driven by some vague idea of a ‘new direction’ or ‘new vision,’ but it’s a direction and vision that hasn’t been clearly articulated to anybody. The staff literally has no clue what they are supposed to do or how they are supposed to do it or what their bosses want. People are basically getting laid off or not renewed for not carrying out a vision that has never been articulated to them.”

Two different viewpoints explain a similar problem.

The answer may be somewhere in the middle. Live game broadcasts and, to a lesser extent, post-game shows, is where the bread is buttered for regional sports networks. There may be some combination of cost-cutting and homogenization trickling down from NBC Sports proper, while on a local level the network seeks to trim the fat of shows and assets that can no longer support themselves. It’s been apparent that NBC wants to make everything look the same across their regional networks, which has eliminated any of the unique flavor CSN had back in the day, which – by the way – was often the model for the other networks. It’s like they created the format for certain shows, passed it off to their counterparts, and then NBC handed it back to them as a watered down, rubber stamp knockoff of the original version that created the asset in the first place. Like if Tony Luke’s were to start serving the microwave version of its pork sandwiches at its original South Philly location. Philly Sports Talk is a ready-to-eat version of Daily News Live, and it doesn’t taste as good.

Marc Farzetta plays Johnny Carson’s iconic character “Carnac the Magnificent” and Ray Didinger plays his sidekick Ed McMahon as they go through Eagles answers and questions.

One problem specific to money is something that NBCSP has no control over, and that’s the cost of obtaining game footage.

For example, you’d think that “30 for 30” type of content, as Russ and Kyle discussed on the podcast, might be perfect for this market, but despite being the broadcast partner for multiple teams, NBCSP still has to pay money for actual game film. That’s why most of the documentary type shows feature very little footage, because it’s too damn expensive. We saw this in the recent 2008 Phillies documentary, which felt predictably unsubstantial.

 

Union labor

One of the biggest issues I (Kevin) had in television was dealing with labor unions.

I started at two TV stations in Georgia, a “right to work” state in the deep south where employees can’t be forced to join a union. This was something I enjoyed because the only things that really mattered were your skill level and work ethic. If you were motivated and did three jobs, you were fine. If you were lazy and did one job, you got shit-canned. Seems very reasonable to me.

When I came home to Philly, CBS 3 was represented by two separate unions, SAG-AFTRA for the producers, writers, anchors, and reporters, and IATSE for the photographers, editors, directors, and technical folks. The issue was that a clash of responsibilities and goals always existed. For example, I wasn’t supposed to shoot or edit video, since that was someone else’s job. But I knew how to shoot and edit video and wanted to do both so that I could provide more value as a jack-of-all-trades type of employee while simultaneously bolstering my resume. That got me more shifts and more money, but was frowned upon by some of the IATSE people, who thought I was a “scab” trying to take their jobs, when I was really just trying to get the goddamn cold open edited before 5:57 p.m. So my experience was that the co-existence of two unions representing one staff with different endgames and values made no sense and was ultimately counterproductive.

It’s somewhat similar at NBCSP, where conflicts can arise because some employees are union members and some aren’t. PAs and broadcast techs, for instance, are IBEW 98 members, but directors, producers, and web people are not. On-air talent also does not have union representation, and most anchors or front of house types are going to have agents involved with their contract negotiations.

Person 5 describes a couple of scenarios where the union setup became an issue:

In one department, you could do whatever you wanted. There were no restrictions. But, for example, there was a show that wasn’t done in the studio because the studio was (union territory). They wanted this cross-usage of video and stuff, but say one of the digital people created something, they weren’t allowed to use that on television. They would have had to find a workaround to get it on TV. That becomes annoying, because you’re putting restrictions on creative people. And some of the editors they used for TV, who are union-based, some of those people are super creative. But they were put into a box and couldn’t do anything. You’d get these situations, too, where, say television has four shooters, one at Flyers and three at the Eagles, and something happened with the Sixers. You couldn’t just send a digital person over there even if they were able to get the job done. Anything that was shot for television was a union job. That became a struggle.”

These are deep-down issues that largely interest only employees, however it’s indicative of the struggle regional sports networks face.

Gone are the days where only one group of people is capable of shooting or editing usable video. A skilled multimedia journalist can be just as effective with their phone as a professional videographer can be with $8,000 worth of camera equipment. Often, the most interesting video is now shot with a smartphone. While the high-end HD cameras are set up in a press conference, the beat reporter on their iPhone may capture a unique locker room moment or impromptu gaffe that’s worthy of attention. How does a network square this circle? To be clear, when it comes to sports talk radio, we’ve always been big proponents of “that’s their problem to deal with” when legacy issues such as having to fill 24 hours a day are brought up, so this isn’t an excuse for the network. The union issue is not NBC Sports Philly’s fault, but they have to deal with it just the same.

 

What next?

Beyond the labor and financial trickiness, there also seems to be a disconnect along generational lines, with one person describing the station as being “cliquey” as senior staff look to “pat themselves on the back” without listening to some of the younger staffers.

“They’re trying to hit an audience that they have in their newsroom, but they don’t want to listen to them,” is how one source put it.

That’s not to say that everything NBCSP does is misguided.

First and foremost, the live broadcast rights are what’s important. The network a few years ago signed a well-publicized 25-year deal to retain the Phillies, and they have Flyers and Sixers games. So that’s ultimately what will determine success or failure. But as is becoming a theme in this piece, there are, of course, moves that can be debated.

The network took over personnel decisions on Phillies broadcasts and put the likes of Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer in the booth, both of whom weren’t particularly good on-air. Ben Davis is a palatable choice, while Mike Schmidt is there to do his best Jimmy Duggan, to wave his cap and give the people a thrill. With the Sixers, the so-far unpopular decision to let go of Molly Sullivan appears to have been made by the network.

But the pre- and post-game shows still offer something for the casual and hardcore fan alike. The game broadcasts are ultimately well-produced with professional commentary, even if we can haggle about individual personalities. If that’s the network’s bread and butter, they could do much worse.

Whatever the case, the recurring theme is that the station formerly known as Comcast SportsNet used to be a giant in Philly sports media, with entertaining shows, high-level content, and talent that moved the needle. Every single person we spoke to gave off sincere vibes of disappointment that the place has gone through such a meandering reconstruction.

“When I got hired, it was an honor to work there,” said Person 4. “It used to be a bustling place and now there’s nobody there. It’s a ghost town, and it’s just heartbreaking to me. It’s just sad.”

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72 Comments

  • Mr Crowley July 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

    All of this had been predicted by boring writer and known pedophile Bill Conlin.

    Reply
  • The heavey July 18, 2018 at 10:48 am

    I need a vacation from my vacation

    Reply
    • bob wiley July 18, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      I’m taking a vacation from my problems

      Reply
  • MOLLY SULLIVAN FOREHEAD ZIP CODE July 18, 2018 at 10:51 am

    LOL I AM SO SAD MOLLY SULLIVAN CAN’T AFFORD TO TAKE PICTURES IN FRONT OF ROUGE ANYMORE. NOBODY GIVES A SHIT. I RATHER WATCH WSOP RE-RUNS THAN ANY LOCAL FAT NECK OR BIG FOREHEAD CELEBRITY TALK ABOUT ANYTHING.

    Reply
  • chubby chaser July 18, 2018 at 10:52 am

    would love to see Sue Serio in a thong :o)

    Reply
    • Afleet Alex July 18, 2018 at 12:09 pm

      Csn employees need to give up the unrealistic dream of long-term “security” when it comes to their contracts. They should know that executives aren’t going to guarantee more than one year when the possibility of their Job performance & physical appearance going downward is so high. I mean, there are so many of these guys & females dropping like flies without even having any contact whatsoever. Executives won’t tie themselves up with that kind of risk.

      Reply
  • Spuds July 18, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Barkann is hung like a mule.

    Reply
    • BdN July 18, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      Big Dick Nick has him by a hair…

      Reply
  • William Rhodes July 18, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Roob and Robby E seem like the epitome of “Shut up and get paid as long as possible” guys.

    Reply
    • Roob is the best July 18, 2018 at 11:07 am

      When they got rid of him on Quick Slants it was the beginning of the end. BB is a cheerleader and doesn’t have Roob’s knowledge which goes back to Buddy’s time.

      Reply
  • wrongnessmaximus July 18, 2018 at 11:05 am

    John Clark’s face looks like a prehistoric bird of prey. Whoever that tramp is with Mike Miss on the show is dumb as an upside down goldfish in the bowl, and the lowrent Donald Glover looking fool with them sounds like he’s never been on radio. And if you think Philly sports is bad, get a load of the nightly (or morning) news. Good God! You’d think a town this size would have better.

    Reply
    • Your talking about the fabulous N@t July 18, 2018 at 11:09 am

      Who’s ability extends to photoshopping emojis. That is a skill that will take you far in the broadcasting industry.

      Reply
    • Fake News July 18, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      The Tramp looks part Gook dumbest broad alive tell the BITCH learn how to read and the house monkey Leroy is horrible along with the sad excuse for a man BUSHINNELLI

      Reply
  • Woodward and Bernstein July 18, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Excellent reporting

    Reply
  • This is the "special project" you've been working on? July 18, 2018 at 11:15 am

    I’m sure there is a lot of back patting in the SLACK CHAT today, but outside of disgruntled former NBC Sports Philly employees, very few people care about this “story.”

    Reply
    • COPYPASTA July 18, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Hahahahahahahaha.
      Good effort guys, take a few days off at the shore.

      NOBODY CARES.

      Reply
  • D Gunn July 18, 2018 at 11:29 am

    I can’t wait to bro hug all my boys this season.

    Reply
  • Sho gun tommy July 18, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Love the Cuz
    Everybody loves the Cuz!

    Reply
  • Shawn Springer July 18, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    The fact that Mark Farzetta has a daily prime time show tells you how far this station has dropped. This dude is beyond awful! Not sure who’s the worse on air talent…Farzetta, or silver spoon Spike Eskin?

    Why does Farzetta wear same outfit everyday? Shirt that’s too tight for him, sleeves rolled up and skinny tie. This dudes a clown!

    Reply
    • Clownface VonFuckstick July 18, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      He is best served as the milquetoast sidekick to Angelo in the morning. Anything more and he is like a kid on caffeine- he can’t handle the excitement. LIKE WHEN HE SHOUTS AT THE AUDIENCE. DUDE, we can fuking hear you just fine.

      Reply
      • Beavis July 18, 2018 at 3:52 pm

        But he got booted off the morning show 2 weeks ago. Ain’t never going back to WIP mornings

        Reply
    • Fake News July 18, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      The Tramp looks part Gook dumbest broad alive tell the BITCH learn how to read and the house monkey Leroy is horrible along with the sad excuse for a man BUSHINNELLI

      Reply
    • Al morgani July 21, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      Intern Farzetta can not even get my coffee prepared the way i like it.

      Reply
  • Huge Fan Of Kevin Kinkerkaid July 18, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    It kills me to give Kyle’s T-Shirt Store Blog credit for something but this is the kind of thing you guys should be doing more of. I can my Sixers and Eagles takes 1000 different places. No other outlet is interested in touching on this.

    I mean you guys need an editor but overall good job.

    Reply
  • AA-RON July 18, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Awesome job on this Kevin!!! Great read!

    Reply
  • Butt Fireworks Veterans for Change July 18, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Great article! The Comcast Sportsnet/NBCSP brand is an institution for sports fans in this town (for the time being) and management needs to be put on notice. Kinda sad but great reporting! I hope this helps jumpstart a move in the right direction.

    Management at NBC Sports Philadelphia wants to be “authentic” even though nobody can stand these forced, flat, passionless commercials. The irony of the forced crap espousing authenticity after a 15-second ad is nauseating. Nobody wants to watch any of this crap. And they aren’t keeping or hiring the right people. The digital game is a dumpster fire.

    They tried too hard with hiring Travis. His most authentic Philly moment was when he shot fireworks out of his ass (Google marshall baseball player sues frat after being startled by anus mounted firework. And his leadership falls right in line with the Veep’s: (Google Ex-SB Nation site manager’s lawsuit against Vox Media claims site managers are employees) “Bradley’s lawsuit makes a notable argument on the firing power and degree of control fronts in particular, mentioning how SB Nation NHL league manager Travis Hughes deleted a controversial post on her site and fired the writer without talking to her in February 2015, then fired Bradley ‘under false pretexts’ less than a week later.”

    He’s in way over his head. This is an example of upper management not getting it and trying too hard, looking in the wrong places, and not keeping the right people to compete the right way. It’s a mess!

    Reply
    • Michelle Murray July 18, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      Whoever wrote this is fired!

      Reply
      • Travis Hughes July 18, 2018 at 3:19 pm

        Thanks mom!

        Reply
  • jessica hahn July 18, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Hiney

    Reply
  • Scott from Barrington July 18, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    CSNPhilly needs to upgrade the smoke show talent badly.

    Not sure why they cant find their own talent to fill live programing as opposed to having to simulcast Mike Missanelli.

    And is it true Amy Fadool married the program director? Amy Fadool does a good job but that is a slippery slope to traverse if true.

    Reply
    • EKT8750 July 18, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      She’s married to the PGL producer. He ain’t that far up the totem pole.

      Reply
    • Whitey July 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      She’s a whale. Bring back Barkann.

      Reply
  • Just A Thought... July 18, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Maybe instead of complaining in an over-saturated field like “Sports Journalism”, maybe they can get real jobs. These people, especially that Molly chick, hasn’t shut their yaps since getting canned. I would not hire any of them.

    Reply
  • Terry Gordy from the free birds July 18, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Heard from a buddy that works at nbc sports Molly got canned because she couldn’t keep her trap shut

    Reply
    • Molly always thought she was all that and more July 18, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      That’s why she was shown the door

      Reply
    • Molly was the champ July 18, 2018 at 3:31 pm

      Heard they called her “swordswallower”. Apparently she took Amir Johnson’s balls all the way to the chin.

      Reply
  • Does Leslie Gudel have a son? July 18, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    And how old is he?

    Reply
  • Big fan of Mitchies tool July 18, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I think his name is Timmy and he’s 11 or 12…good kid, a little screwed up from his mothers antics but still a good kid

    Reply
  • Reality July 18, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I’ve got the answer to all their problems, bring on Sean Brace. The kid is multi dimensional, can appeal to so many demographics, and although has a tough time speaking like an adult is full of energy. Home run baby

    Reply
  • Jared from Subway July 18, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    He’s 11. And he’s delightful!!

    Reply
  • Sherriff Marshall and Deputy Dawg July 18, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Mark F. is actually imitating Jason Kelce in that photo. Oh, and thanks for the long story. It is, indeed a long story with many, many chapters in it. I wonder how the other NBCSN’s are faring.

    Reply
  • i worship at the alter of cuz.... July 18, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Ant’s the man

    Reply
  • doc holliday July 18, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I’m your huckleberry

    Reply
  • Jimmy’s timeout July 18, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    I miss the csn days in the late 90’s early 2000’s when LG would be blowing a lot of the Phils. Todd Pratt told me some great stories about her

    Reply
    • SCHWING!! July 18, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      I so want that to be true

      Reply
      • Travis lee July 18, 2018 at 5:34 pm

        Heard that from numerous people over the years . She even fucked Ruben Amaro

        Reply
        • Pat the bat July 18, 2018 at 6:55 pm

          I Burrelled her from behind

          Reply
  • Cut the cord 2 years ago July 18, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    And don’t miss this station or all the “rockstar personalities”!!!!!

    Reply
  • Kevin Kinkead's Hair July 18, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Checking in on this site for the first time in a while…. Thanks for noting that you and Kyle both worked on this piece of “journalism”…. it confirms:
    (A) 1+1 actually can equal zero
    (B) Both of you have little (if any) talent or market value…. although I think the Kinker might actually be employable somewhere if he gets over his anger issues and cuts his hair…. I’m thinking a local deli or a fluffer
    (C) The commenters remain the only interesting/entertaining thing about this site

    Reply
    • Kevin Kinkead July 18, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      welcome back, thanks for reading

      Reply
  • The Shredder July 18, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Why doesn’t everyone’s childhood friend BOB MARINO just buy the station?

    Reply
  • Stealth July 18, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    I wish someone had asked me what it was like to work there. I could have told you in great detail what a shit heap that place is. It’s like a college dorm room with grown men who still behave like they’re in college. Unprofessional. I’ve seen people assaulted. I’ve seen sexual misconduct. I’ve seen people emotionally harassed and bullied by supervisors who never should have been in that position in the first place.

    Reply
  • Noel Indeed July 18, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Great read. Definitely need more stuff like this. Also LOfuckingL at the comments being the most interesting thing. You really find entertainment in one guy posting under multiple accounts? Jesus you must be a riot at parties.

    Reply
    • This is at least my 4th reply to this story July 18, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      I want to thank all my fans

      Reply
  • Fred July 18, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Nice work boys. I enjoyed this and it gave insight into what the hell is going on over there because anyone who watches regularly was wondering . Question – does anyone else have issues streaming any non-live sports programming on csn? Mikey Miss, Philly Sports Talk, etc? If it’s anything other then a pre/post game or a live game the stream hangs no matter what device, computer, browser I use and I have some juiced up internet. Time’s yours.

    Reply
  • DSDM July 18, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I can. tell you that most of this stuff happens in every large corporation, maybe except the union issues which happen in specific industries. I was in sales with a large financial services firm. My division was a boutique and we worked outside of the norm for a decade and made the firm $. The worst thing we ever did was hit a grand slam in 2014. We literally tripled our revenues and quadrupled our profits. The reasons to us were very clear – we were an experienced, adaptable sales team who didn’t have corporate handcuffs placed on us by senior management. Then they noticed us. They were so happy the provided us with more “resources”. These “resources” were middle managers who made all of our lives Hell. We had conflicting directives, directives that if obeyed would have broken numerous regulations and laws, endless trainings that led to nowhere and were brow beaten on a daily basis.

    One example, although I have 500- A new middle manager was being introduced to me and I told her how lucky I was to have a particular customer service rep working in my market. This rep’s boss heard me say that and took me into an office and told me I had to watch my words. Calling a customer service rep a customer service rep (which was her title) was now a bad thing. This person had not brought a dime into the division while I had literally paid for dozens of people.

    It was endless BS. I thank the heavens that I had enough $ to walk away in April of 16. The people still there are miserable and every day is an endless grind.

    Reply
  • CSN Insider July 18, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Things missing: Dei & Leslie & Neil gave up. They stopped caring. Leslie when anchoring (which ended in 2010), only worked 4 days a week. And yet was paid well into the 6 figures. That was a salary dump. Dei showed up hungover or drunk REGULARLY. She couldn’t break a Sixers story if it was handed to her on a silver platter which it was at tone by other beat writers. The website editors would have to spend over a hour on editing her game story because it not only lacked cohesion, but was rife with errors, grammatical, spelling or factual. And Neil would show up 30 min before his show, not read a single script beforehand, bitch and moan when he made an error that could’ve been caught had he read it beforehand, and he spent the entire day joining his kid’s little league fields. They were a JOKE. And Neil & Leslie made EXORBITANT salaries. Cuts were easy. And not surprised. Leslie was only on home weekend Phillies duties the last two years. Who was surprised or sad to see her finally leave?

    Molly couldn’t play the role of a beat writer because she was unable to string together two interesting or insightful thoughts on the team. We know. We saw their attempts st making her into that role.

    Rachel left because she couldn’t work past 6pm because of kid issues.

    Colleen at the time was terrible. That was 8 years ago. They tried her with Didinger. She giggled and stumbled her way through the segments. It was nearly unairable.

    Schwartz, while dedicated, actually had little knowledge of how a website worked. Plus.., Editorially it was his way of it was wrong. No room for outside opinions. He was pretty bad.

    Roob couldn’t remember to bring a clean shirt or brush his hair. He was told repeatedly that he needed to polish his look. They had an image consultant come in TWICE to coach him. He blew them off and continued to show up disheveled. Shockingly they followed through on their promises of moving him off tv full time.

    It’s not awesome but it’s also not as bad as this makes it seem. Judging from the people who work there…very very few have ever worked outside of CSN. A lot of the “issues” perceived are pretty common at a lot of TV stations. And are magnified now because of the cost cutting.

    Reply
    • EKT8750 July 18, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      Hi Michelle!

      Reply
    • Reuben Frank July 18, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Yeah…you’re image consultant sure “polished” me up just fine. Shot my wad clear over her head.

      Reply
  • Lance Crawford July 18, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    How come my name was not mentioned?

    Reply
    • Pete christy July 18, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      Remember me?

      Reply
  • Meat locker 4 life July 18, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    They should hire Cuz because he generates massive ratings.

    Reply
  • Michelle Murray July 18, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    Let’s not forget the time Shawn Oleksiak sent a marital aid to a graphics operator.

    They should clean house on all upper management! That would fix alot of the issues with moral!

    Reply
  • Hextall's Glasses July 18, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    I’m not going to pretend to understand what plays best on social media or the best way for NBCSN to go forward but parroting ESPN is the last thing they should be doing. Going a more comedic, personality driven route like Barstool seems like the better option. I think the last time I can remember my dad choosing to watch a post game show was just to see Barkann verbally annihilate the Eagles after a poor performance as they showed video of their walk of shame to the locker room. He thought it was funny and he immediately switched over to watch after games.

    There is still value in high production budgets and dedicated teams for shooting content. Again, look at the way Barstool is utilizing those kinds of resources. You can shoot everything on an iPhone, but there’s a noticeable uptick in quality when a “man on the street” video has a dedicated cameraman with professional equipment.

    Not everything Barstool does is the gold standard. They currently employ a morbidly obese guy to post a daily vlog where he talks about burgers and beer (two things he is inept at describing). He’s viciously and universally panned and in noticeably poor health, but the videos get views so they keep it going. Still, the heart of that company seems to be hiring funny people that love sports to generate whatever content they want and it’s working for them. An entity like NBCSN is shriveling up and dying because of the convoluted corporate culture you two described. If what the people who spoke anonymously said is true, someone like Michelle Murray is to blame. CSN wasn’t thriving before because of it’s long time executives or upper management. It was thriving because the medium used to be indestructible. Now suddenly it’s not, but it’s still led by a bunch of hacks who are holding on for dear life to this antiquated corporate pecking order.

    Reply
    • Ham Porter July 19, 2018 at 8:28 am

      I give this comment 4.3 balls.

      Reply
  • Fred V. July 18, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Maybe its time to go back to the old days and broadcast a show on the Free over the air channels so everyone can watch and get away from pay cable and satellite TV. With everyone cutting the cord there is plenty of airwaves on Free TV to start a new sports network just like MeTV,Decades,LaffTV,CoziTV,Buzzr etc. but there is no sports channels. Its a thought and I think it would be huge because everybody can view it and not limited to people who pay because there still is a huge audience that are poor and can not afford pay TV

    Reply
  • Absolutely Not July 18, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Shocked that Fred V is poor

    Reply
  • Bring back Molly! July 18, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    I met Molly Sullivan for the first time a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t believe how down-to-earth and nice and friendly she was. Spoke to a group of young girls and they thought she was great. Really unpopular decision and makes no sense. You need a sideline reporter and she was a light during the dark days of the process , the only real reason to watch the telecast

    Reply
    • A Fan July 21, 2018 at 12:12 am

      Agreed. I met her earlier this year and she couldn’t have been more gracious. She and Dei Lynam, before her, were not part of the problem.

      Reply
  • A dissatisfied customer July 21, 2018 at 8:32 am

    My guess is the toxic pig is that fat slob Brian Dashefsky. Big ass kisser. Did his best to get out of doing work, while complaining about his coworkers, going to the boss and telling tall tales in order to win favor with the higher ups. All he does now is walk around bossing people while doing absolutely nothing. Big scum bag.

    It could also be Dan “Boonie” Roche…much beloved by Barkann and some of the other on air people, but one of the most disgusting people I have ever met. I’ve never met somebody so morbidly obese make fun of another fat person the way he does. I think the mirrors in his house come from the Fun House on Morey’s Pier. He insults everyone around him who is not in his click. He’s verbally abusive and considers himself the smartest person he knows. Makes me think he doesn’t know a whole lotta people.

    Lets not forget IBEW…the union that is in the pocket of Comcast. Take your dues then does nothing to protect you or get you a decent wage. Pathetic.

    Reply
  • Stealth November 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    In the 20 years that CSN/NBC Sports has been on the air, they broke EXACTLY ONE STORY — Scott Rolen traded by the Phillies to the Cincinnati Reds.

    Reply
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