Leslie Gudel was one of Comcast SportsNet's most recognizable faces, not surprising considering that the longtime Phillies reporter was one of the first hosts when the network launched in 1997.
But in October, Gudel and CSN parted ways after 19 years, part of a shift in programming at the network aimed at attracting more millennial viewers.
Now Gudel is back, hashing out a deal to cover the Phillies weekly for Crossing Broad, the irreverent sports blog most known for sharing a video of Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper shouting a racial epithet during a Kenny Chesney concert.
"I think it goes without saying that [Crossing Broad founder Kyle Scott] and I have very different styles," Gudel said. "It also goes without saying that he has a large audience that's passionate about Philadelphia sports. I wanted an outlet to continue to tell stories, and Kyle provides that."
Her first piece seemed to balance Gudel's reporting sensibilities with Crossing Broad's outside-the-box coverage of Philadelphia sports. The veteran reporter interviewed Phillies outfielder Howie Kendrick, but chose to get to know him through the prism of his interesting and sometimes insightful Instagram profile.
"This might seem like a curious addition given the tone of the site — and it is — but I think we can continue to be our usual snarky selves while at the same time incorporating some more traditional reporting," said Scott, who launched the growing, and often profane, sports blog seven years ago and now employs one full-time staffer, Jim Adair, and several paid contributors.
Gudel will be Crossing Broad's second attempt at having a credentialed reporter producing stories. Last November, contributor Dan Klausner saw his Flyers credentials yanked by the team after just one game after he wrote a blistering post sprinkled with obscenities about defenseman Andrew MacDonald.
Don't expect the same from Gudel, who Scott says will do more long-form, Peter King-style insider accounts and stories about the Phillies throughout the season.
"My role at CSN was very different than my new ventures and media is changing quickly, so I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to contribute in new and exciting ways," Gudel said. "I decided I didn't spend 19 years covering the Phillies to just throw it away."
In addition to Crossing Broad, Gudel is working on launching a podcast for Wildfire Radio with longtime SportsRadio 94.1 host Glen Macnow called Inside Corner. The podcast, which aims to air live from Paddy Wacks at Second and South Streets every Sunday at 8 p.m., is expected to begin in late March.
"I've always thought that, of all the sports, baseball's the most fun to talk about and debate about," Macnow said. "I'm really looking forward to just chatting up all aspects of baseball with Leslie."
Gudel isn't the only one working on a new podcast. Scott is hard at work on an ambitious project to stream a yet-unnamed Philadelphia sports podcast live in the morning every Monday through Friday, putting him in direct competition with WIP's Angelo Cataldi, who has said he is considering retirement at the end of the year, and 97.5 The Fanatic's Anthony Gargano.
Scott says he hopes to have the podcast up by the start of the Phillies' season, and the plan is to stream it live around 6 each morning and have it available to download in its entirety by 7:15 a.m.