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Tom Nalen, Les Shapiro, Charles Johnson out after Best of Denver curse hits ESPN Radio

tom.nalen.ring.of.fame.565x300.jpg
A look at Tom Nalen's Ring of Fame induction intro. More photos below.
The Best of Denver curse strikes again.

Back in March, we named ESPN's The Locker Room, co-starring Nate Kreckman and Broncos Ring of Famer Tom Nalen, Denver's top radio sports show in our 2014 Best of Denver issue. But as with Gloria Neal, who was given her walking papers at AM-760 shortly after we dubbed her 2014's Best Radio Talk-Show Host, Nalen's out at ESPN Denver (although apparently by his choice), as are two other noteworthy personalities, Les Shapiro and Charles "CJ" Johnson -- and other changes are on the way at the station beginning Monday, July 28.

See also: Gloria Neal's firing marks impending death of progressive AM-760

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Les Shapiro's Twitter pic.
First, a little background. In February 2010, as we've reported, a group led by automobile expert and local TV staple Dealin' Doug Moreland bought 102.3 and 105.5 from NRC Broadcasting, fronted by Tim Brown, an energetic figure who also happened to be gazillionaire Phil Anschutz's son-in-law. The following May, we learned that the ownership cabal also included onetime Denver newspaper journo turned ESPN talking head Adam Schefter and Tom Manoogian, who was well known to listeners of KOA and other stations via his Lou From Littleton pseudonym.

The 102.3 format was dubbed The Ticket and featured Shapiro, Johnson and Kreckman -- and all three survived when, in January 2012, the switch was made to ESPN Radio Denver. But the station has consistently struggled in the ratings. Combining the most recent numbers from both its signals still puts it in 26th place overall out of 36 stations

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Charles Johnson as seen on Twitter.
Now, Shapiro and Johnson, who'd been paired in a midday slot, are out and Kreckman is the sole host of The Locker Room. Here's how Manoogian describes the changes.

Regarding Nalen, Manoogian says, "Tom's contract ended July 22. We offered an extension and he refused."

Shapiro and Johnson received no such opportunity due in part to scheduling of nationally syndicated ESPN programming, including Mike and Mike, featuring Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, and Colin Cowherd.

"Mike and Mike is our flagship show," Manoogian allows. "It dominates men 25-54 in the mornings. And Colin does a great job for us. We couldn't be happier."

As a result, Mike and Mike will air from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. beginning on July 28, with Cowherd following from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. -- an hour later than previously. That shrinks the subsequent slot, which Les and CJ had manned from noon to three, to two hours, and Manoogian says, "A two-hour show doesn't lend itself to having two people. It's not cost-effective. At the end of the day, I've got to return a profit to my investors. So when Les and CJ's contract also ended, we decided not to renew them."

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Cecil Lammey and his new logo.
Instead, the two-hour block is now being filled by Cecil Lammey. "He has passion, energy and is about everything football," Manoogian notes. "Cecil's been doing Sunday mornings since we started the station and he's an expert on fantasy -- so we thought it would be the perfect time to give a chance to a guy who's been with us since day one."

As for Kreckman, he's still in The Locker Room, and even with Nalen gone, Manoogian doesn't expect it to be a lonely place.

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Tom Manoogian.
"He's going solo, but he'll be joined by a lot of people: Adam Schefter, Mike Klis and Benjamin Hochman [of the Denver Post], Aqib Talib and Julius Thomas [players with the Denver Broncos] and on and on and on. Plus you get Nate's humor, knowledge and entertainment, too. Picture a locker room with guys coming in and out and shooting the bull. That's the image we want to project and the kind of show we want to have."

Of course, none of these changes would have been made if everything was jake.

"We're very pleased with our ESPN-show ratings," Manoogian insists. "But where we've struggled is live and local. And so we continue to tweak and tweak and tweak until we find the right combination."

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.


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18 comments
robby_beum
robby_beum

Thanks for ruining the show...now its just Nate and boring since there's no bantering.

cjcj
cjcj

also tom manoogian looks like he is high and untrustworthy.  dont judge a book by its cover?  fine but im not gonna open a book covered in shit.

cjcj
cjcj

to the advertisers on the two espn Denver channels: you have one less listener.  Mike and Mike has more time: fine I am neutral on that.  Colin is on both stations with more time: i change the station or maybe voluntarily put my head in a vice and turn it.  No tom nalen: tune out and big fail there.  Cecil has a two hour show: wow...dude just talks about how much more he follows and knows about football than you.  guess what cice, you can study all you want but if you are stupid (and i think most can agree you are [shut your mouth {you bag}]) you will fail...again and again.  you discovered Julius?  really what team do you work for?


Ownership can at least be content knowing that their decisions to reduce their cost has only resulted in one less listener.  And dealing Doug, not only will i never support any of your business intentionally, but I will rip on anyone who does.  Way to build customer loyalty.  

HEADHUNTER
HEADHUNTER

back to the fan, Nalen made the show he will be missed way screw with something that works it was the best program on back to big AL

kevvc1
kevvc1

The fact that Westword listed Kreckman as an underrated sports host tells you their credibility.  Only reason I listened to the locker room was because of Nalen.  Kreckman's laugh and repeated phrase "thats good stuff right there" makes my ears bleed.  Im not a local team fan so the more national shows the better.  Wish they had kept SVP and Resillo.  Listening to local homer after homer gets old...

aa1974aa
aa1974aa

Nalen was good Kreckmen is is beyond annoying, the fan local shows are bad. Guess it's internet radio for me

tedhughes
tedhughes

Krechmen an Nalen were the best together...unbelievable chemistry and sports knowledge expressed in a fun way to listen to.  Les and CJ were enjoyable to listen to as well.  Lammey is a joke, and a full-of-himself name dropper.  I'll be listening elsewhere after Mike and Mike.

iceguydave
iceguydave

The one that needs to go is Manoogian,  Bad management and bad pairings!!  Will miss Les and Tom, not ridiculous CU homer CJ.  Cecil's ramblings are just too hard to listen to. 

wmortimore
wmortimore

Without Nalen I'm out.  Kreckmen and Nalen were awesome together.  Can go back to the fan but will listen to goodmen and Pritch.

Peter J Guarnero
Peter J Guarnero

CJ and Les are gone? Now I can listen to sports radio again. Nalen was funny but that's about it.

Dan Falliaux
Dan Falliaux

The only reason I would ever hit 105.5 is Jim Rome...guess strictly internet radio from here on out.

Andy Leskovec
Andy Leskovec

Cecil Lammey is the worst sports radio guy in Denver. I guess they've made my decision an easy one

Eric Koch
Eric Koch

They were terrible. Well done

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