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Sandmeyer Reflects On CBS Run

Jason Barrett

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The proverbial writing on the wall for The Steve Sandmeyer Show should have been evident following a pair of February sports events in Arizona just weeks apart.

The first was the Super Bowl, in which Seattle homegrown radio host Sandmeyer, 42, was forced to watch his beloved Seahawks on television for a second straight year instead of broadcasting on-location all week like his rivals. Then, a few weeks later, as the Mariners opened spring training ahead of their most-anticipated season in years, Sandmeyer and noted baseball analyst co-host Jason Churchill were again denied a travel budget.

So, it wasn’t a total shock two weeks ago when CBS 1090 The Fan had the plug pulled on its only locally-produced sports show. For Sandmeyer, who’d spent 2½ years waiting for CBS Radio’s head office in New York to give local management better resources, what hurts most is wondering what could have been.

“I was under the impression that eventually they would expand their local lineup and that the station would be more of a destination on the dial,’’ Sandmeyer said. “Because we were so new and just starting to gain momentum, it honestly seemed like an odd time to deliver this kind of news.’’

But ultimately, he adds: “CBS didn’t have the budget locally or nationally to support many of its affiliates.’’

So, when CBS Radio cut more than 200 positions nationwide, the No. 3 sports show locally behind time-slot counterparts on Sports Radio KJR and 710 ESPN Seattle wasn’t spared. That leaves 1090 The Fan with only nationally syndicated content, an outsider’s perspective on sports Sandmeyer and others say was already too prevalent and impeded his show’s growth.

The Sandmeyer Show was hands-down the best baseball talk in town and offered routine Huskies, Sounders, Storm, NHL and NBA topic alternatives for Seattle radio listeners weary of the usual two-dozen daily takes on Russell Wilson’s contract situation.

But without the budget to compete on big events, nor additional local programming to draw new listeners to the channel, ratings suffered and left the show vulnerable.

Sandmeyer is largely philosophical about it, noting CBS was among the last major networks to institute widespread layoffs in a “volatile” industry he still loves.

“I signed up for this line of work, so I have to take the bad with the good and I can’t complain when something like this occurs,’’ he said.

In many ways, the radio industry is experiencing what newspapers have grappled with the past decade: desperately seeking profits and listeners in a digital age where competition lines have blurred between print, audio and visual media.

Many stations have spent big on print websites, with blog and video posts produced by both newly-hired staffers and on-air talent. But 1090 The Fan’s website pales next to offerings from Seattle’s other sports stations and did little to increase the chance of Sandmeyer’s show surviving.

Everyone involved says local management — including marketing manager Kevin McCarthy and program director Carey Curelop — did its best to support the show and scrape by on scant budget crumbs. But growth takes money and from its January 2013 launch onward, 1090 The Fan hasn’t deployed the resources to truly compete.

“Our Seahawks are in the Super Bowl two years in a row and they couldn’t send us because the budget wasn’t there,’’ Churchill said. “So, that was really frustrating.

“You lose a lot of traction. You get all this momentum going, we’re having really good shows and the Seahawks are the hot thing and they go to the Super Bowl and we’re nonexistent. We’re still here, we don’t have the guests and we don’t have the exposure. Those are missed opportunities.’’

The show didn’t have a dedicated, full-time executive producer until Brian Lambert was hired two months ago. But veteran on-air host Bill Swartz was dismissed at almost the exact same time. Now, Lambert, who’d barely moved in to his new office digs, is also back looking for work.

Nobody in CBS management, either local or national, would comment.

Churchill continues to run his popular Prospect Insider baseball website but says all options are open even if it involves leaving town. Sandmeyer says he can’t yet fathom leaving the area he’s grown up in and is exploring options locally.

“The fact that I have a lot in common with many of our listeners resonates with people,’’ he said. “Jason Churchill and I put on a damn good radio show. And I think we did it the right way.’’

Credit to the Seattle Times who originally published this article

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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