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Media column: Hochman ready to go head-to-head with buddy Le Batard; More radio, NFL TV changes

WEEKLY MEDIA COLUMN

For eight years, Marc Hochman was the creative architect behind his buddy Dan Le Batard’s radio show, combining with Le Batard and Jon Weiner to present the highest-rated and most compelling sports-talk radio program in South Florida.

Friends since they were classmates at the University of Miami, Hochman and Le Batard have traveled together, to Las Vegas and the Bahamas, and Le Batard appeared in Hochman’s wedding 16 years ago. Le Batard hired him as his executive producer when 790 The Ticket launched.

So when Hochman officially joins rival WQAM-560 next week and starts competing directly with Le Batard on Tuesday, “it will feel a little strange because I still take great pride in that show,” Hochman said.

Nevertheless, Hochman insists going head-to-head with Le Batard from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays won’t be daunting or intimidating or any other frightening adjective. That’s partly because Le Batard’s show on 790 AM and 104.3 FM airs nationally on ESPN Radio from 4 to 7 p.m.

“My show is hopefully going to be this place where anyone who lives in South Florida can hang out for a couple hours, talk about things interesting to people in South Florida,” he said. “Dan's show has grown into a national show. It's got a different feel to it.

“I can’t compete with him on guests. He's going to get an A list of sports guests. But he is doing something I'm not trying to do. I want to work in South Florida the rest of my life.”

Competing with Le Batard “is not daunting because I know he's rooting for me. He was one of the first people I called when I decided to take the job. He was thrilled for me, wished me the best. He's such a unique individual.

“I'm not competition to him. He's a network radio host. He's got bigger fish to fry than worrying about what is happening about the show against him on the local station.”

Hochman, 44, hasn’t worked professionally with Le Batard since becoming The Ticket’s morning show co-host in the spring of 2012.

Though the Ticket wanted to keep him, Hochman left that job in December, partly because he felt his future would be more secure at WQAM. Hochman couldn’t start at WQAM immediately because of a three-month non-compete clause, and WQAM management said it’s still not permitted to comment publicly about him.

“The real motivating factor was picturing myself 10 years from now doing a talk show in Miami and who I think would afford me that opportunity,” he said. “I have seen that happen at WQAM, with Hank Goldberg, Neil Rogers, Jim Mandich. The Beasley family [which owns WQAM] is committed to radio in this market. Lincoln Financial [which owns The Ticket] is a multi-million dollar insurance company. I am making a calculated decision.”

He said WQAM also appealed to him because they share a similar vision of doing “an entertaining radio show” rather than a hard-core, sports-only program. “Sports will be the backbone and I love sports, but I love pop culture and current events. Each show will be the vibe of that particular day.”

He will use some segments he created on The Ticket, including “Mount Rushmore” and “Honked off like a goose.”

Hochman hired Zack Krantz, Joe Rose’s former radio producer, as his co-host because “I love a guy who's always smiling and laughing and enjoying sports and life the way I try to. If Joe Rose didn't give his blessing, I wouldn't have pursued it.”

Producer Victor Bermudez and Sha Tabb, a former model and Dolphins cheerleader, also will have on-air roles. And Hochman made an eye-opening hire by convincing legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger to become the “voice” of the show, narrating introductions and more.

Perhaps Hochman will give WQAM the long-term stability it has lacked in afternoon drive since the retirement of Mandich, who died in 2012 after a battle with cancer. Sid Rosenberg (now doing mornings on WMEN-640) lost his WQAM afternoon gig because of a DUI arrest, and Jorge Sedano – who was a strong hire – left in September for ESPN Radio.

But it will be very difficult for Hochman to post ratings comparable to Le Batard, who has become a radio juggernaut.

This much is clear: Hochman, a native of Highland Park, Ill., has come a long way from the guy who was making $165 a week as a disk jockey in Belle Glade after graduating from UM 23 years ago.

AROUND THE DIAL

### The Dolphins on Thursday hired WQAM's Greg Likens --- one of the more thoughtful, polished young hosts on local radio --- to replace Jesse Agler as host of WINZ's Finsiders. Agler left for a job with the San Diego Padres.

### Jeff Fox and Ed Freeman, who have handled WQAM’s 3 to 7 p.m. shift the past three months, will go back to being fill-in hosts on the station.

### The Ticket, which has a marketing partnership with The Miami Herald, hired a new program director: Len Weiner, who was an executive for radio stations in Tampa, Orlando and Melbourne.

### Fox dropped NFL analyst Brian Billick… NBC lead analyst Cris Collinsworth is giving up his gig on Showtime’s Inside the NFL and may do some cable work for NBC Sports Network before or after the Sunday games that he calls with Al Michaels on NBC. The move will reduce Collinsworth’s travel load. Collinsworth, who lives in Cincinnati, needed to travel to Mount Laurel, N.J. every week to do the show. 

The chemistry between Collinsworth and Phil Simms made the show especially lively and will be missed. CBS said it hasn't decided how Collinsworth will be replaced.

### Heat-Pacers on Wednesday night generated a strong 12.7 rating in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market: a 7.4 on Sun Sports and a 5.3 on ESPN.

### Fort Myers sports anchor Clayton Ferraro is the new No. 2 sportscaster at WPLG-10, replacing Victor Oquendo, who was promoted to a news anchor position. 

Comments

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Johnathan Zaslow

I'm a huge Hochman fan; 790's morning show is un-listenable without him. Zaslow SUCKS and Joy is horrible. Having said that, I will not tune LeBatard out to listen to Hoch. LeBatard and StuGotz together are radio gold.

I do wish their show was less National, seems too commercial - but $$$ rules...

Michael M.

Joy is really unbearable, some kind of Jesus freak it sounds like.

Hoch Fan

Big fan of Hoch.

Wasn't a fan of Zas originally, but came to like him under Hoch.

I feel the same about Zack now as I did Zas. Hopefully, Hoch will be the anti-Carmelo Anthony and make those around him at WQAM better. 11 years of big head jokes are enough.

J.A.

Fox and Freeman did a great job. I listen to them everyday. So After Monday I won't be listening to WQAM after 3:00 now that they have been removed from that time slot

Roger

What happened to Mike Marchand?!

Art Vasquez

I do not like Hoch. Do not like his delivery and do not like his nasal voice. Zaslow and Joy are OK. Definitely won't be tuning in to Hoch. I will just keep listening to Dan's podcast in my travels every night.

mike

When I first heard him talk on LeBatard show, I thought why doesn't that producer just shut up and stop annoying everyone. But he grew on me and is really funny. I am sure he will do well.

MIDKNIGHT RIDER

We are losing the sports bros for Marc Hochman???? 560 get real!!!! That will not last long!!!

Arbitron

Sports talk radio blows,along with its moronic callers,listeners and hosts.

joe r

joy taylor brings the show down, sorry...looking forward to another afternoon show when Big O goes to commercial, hochman doesnt need to compete with lebatard, its comparing apples and oranges if you like to hear about movies, animals and other things not related to sports then listen to lebatard, if you want south florida sports then listen to hochman and big o

FIUJM

Best thing Hoch did was leave Zaslow. Zaslow is terrible, can't stand him. He started with Boog(which he was awesome) and that is only reason he has made it to radio.

Lebaturd is radio gold, it will be hard on Hochman but good luck.

green

Lebaturd is radio gold

Posted by: FIUJM | 03/29/2014 at 07:58 AM

https://twitter.com/NeilRogersRadio

where have you gone Neil God ...

OY VEY

green

http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/caneswatch

Thanks for making my #Canes blog the second-most visted blog on PBPost's entire website this month. 'Preciate ya.
-- Matt Porter ‏@mattyports

mind U, it's march ...

WHAT'S HAPPENING

green

http://instagram.com/p/mGxSoxqCEA/#

Headed to see my Canes practice! If my son wasn't playing for his city, going to Spring practices may not have been an option! #CanesMom
-- Mrs. H CaneMom TH3 ‏@shaiyhoward

MOM & POP SHOP

green

http://acc.blogs.starnewsonline.com/41270/swofford-acc-hits-sweet-spot-with-basketball-tourney-rotation/

the ACC will hold its annual postseason men’s basketball tournament in Charlotte in 2019 and Greensboro in 2020. The announcement came one day after the league reached an agreement with the Atlantic-10 and the Barclays Center to play the 2017-18 ACC tournaments in Brooklyn, N.Y.

By rotating its signature event to both ends of its newly expanded geographic footprint, the ACC has created a balance in which it can take advantage of the marketing benefits of its new foothold in New York without turning its back on its traditional Tobacco Road roots.
-- Brett Friedlander

BIG COUNTRY

johnnie j

Neil could get too raw for me but I miss "drivin around with the windows down" Jimbo the most.As soon as he even began to make his point....I d be smiling while driving home from work each evening.Cutting through the Gables around 5 and he d be on.I was unwinding from work and he d have me cracking up in the car.What a guy he was.RIP Jimbo - buddy.That was great sports radio boy.

green

I was skeptical, but #Beckham won me over on #MLS plans
-- Michelle Kaufman ‏@kaufsports

The real questions are the viability of an alternative site; anything less than 40,000 to 45,000 seats plus private suites (at least 30 - 40) and club seating 1,000 - 2,000 is not feasible. I think the Port location would work but it would be also be traffic nightmare ... A small 25,000 seat soccer stadium is a waste of public lands, it will become antiquated and another Marine Stadium. I'm surprised Beckham's group hasn't realized that the University of Miami may be the key they need for approval.

Remember the one billion dollar tunnel and all the other improvements at Dodge Island are meant to build that area as a world port for the new Panama Canal. Selling out for a tiny soccer only stadium is a waste
-- Lauderdale

TAKE A COLD SHOWER

green

artificial field construction will begin right after spring ball.
-- Blake James ‏@CanesAllAccess

http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/9543925/florida-state-seminoles-look-level-playing-field-sec-gridiron-their-checkbook

when the rain begins to fall ...
half-measures avail U nothing ...

GIMME SHELTER

Sid Rosendberg

Its funny how the two Sports Brothers posted on here how good their show was, lets be serious, they shouldn't even be fill in host much less regular host. I love Hoch, but Lebatard is the Howard Stern of Sports radio, without the lesbians of course. I doubt Hoch will get any good ratings, too bad he didn't stick with LeBatard, that show would be even greater than it already is. But money talks so I understand. And since Hoch left the Ticket, I stopped listening to Zas. He's a nice guy, but solo, forget it. And Joy? Looks are great. Radio talent, not so much

josh

hate all 3....hochman means well and has talent but honked off like a goose?...what am I 12?...that line is just plain stupid....
ZAZ voice is just irritating and Joy is talentless on the radio....sinse hoch left show is unlistenable, but then again I think joe rose is horrible so I'm sure the sofisicated s forida sports fan will love hoch's show...good luck

josh

why cant they play soccer at marlins park?

Former Season Tckt Holder

All of sports radio has gone to hell, Boy do i miss Hank Goldberg, nobody has been able to hold a candle to him, Dan LeBaterd? Are you kidding me? I still can't believe where that jerk has risen to. He says stupid crazy stuff just so people can talk about him, And it's always about race, A real big phoney, it's always gonna be about him, F him

CutlerRidge Laz

Oh god these people with Hank and f8ckin dead Neil Rodgers. Give me Joe Rose anyday - plus he lets me in the studio when I bring him donuts!

Ex-con do boy

Laz

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