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McCown Looking For New Co-Host

Jason Barrett

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Stephen Brunt and Bob McCown, one of Canada’s most popular sports radio duos, are no more.

Several sources close to Rogers Media say the split was the result of McCown’s unhappiness over Brunt’s guest appearances on the new and popular Tim & Sid television show, which is broadcast nationally in the same time slot as Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown. Brunt has been McCown’s longest-serving co-host, dating back to the late 1990s, but in recent years his television and writing duties with Rogers have reduced his Prime Time appearances to 20 weeks a year.

The tipping point, the sources said, came two weeks ago when Brunt filled in for Tim & Sid co-host Sid Seixeiro on a day he was not scheduled to be on Prime Time. While there was no direct confrontation between Brunt and McCown, the end of the radio relationship came quickly. Discussions about a replacement are under way, and Prime Time will continue with its usual variety of co-hosts.

McCown admitted Tuesday he was not happy with Brunt’s appearance as a co-host on Tim & Sid with Tim Micallef. But he said the main reason for Brunt’s departure was that he could not commit to being his co-host for more than 20 weeks a year.

Brunt, who is heavily involved in Sportsnet’s television coverage of the Toronto Blue Jays march to the playoffs, will now appear regularly on Sportsnet Radio’s Baseball Central with host Jeff Blair in addition to Tim & Sid. He will also continue writing for Sportsnet’s magazine and website. At the same time, Brunt signed a contract extension with Rogers that one source said was for 10 years.

“No, I wasn’t flinging ash trays, but I wasn’t happy they chose him [as a substitute co-host],” McCown said.

“The issue is his deal is 20 weeks and, truthfully, he probably didn’t work the 20 weeks last year. I think he felt he had other things to do, TV commitments or whatever, so he took days off when he was supposed to be with me.

“If Brunt wanted to do 40 weeks and commit to Prime Time, I’d be happy with that.”

Brunt declined to say if his departure from Prime Time is official or discuss the details of the split. He said he does have a new contract with Rogers, although he would not confirm its length. But he did say he is happy with his new role with both Sportsnet television and radio.

“I’m fully involved in covering the first Blue Jays’ pennant race in 20 years, I will be working with Jeff Blair a lot and I will be working with Tim and Sid a lot,” Brunt said. “I’m having a great time and looking forward to finishing out my working life at Sportsnet.”

Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL for Rogers, could not be reached for comment.

One potential replacement for Brunt is Damien Cox, who once shared Prime Time co-hosting duties with Brunt. Cox moved to television full-time when Rogers landed the national broadcast rights to the NHL, and he is willing to come back if it can be worked around his hockey obligations.

McCown, with a well-earned reputation as a curmudgeon, has not hesitated to make it clear he did not like the company’s decision to move Tim & Sidfrom the afternoon radio slot that led into his own show to directly opposite him on television. Management’s rationale was that Tim & Sid appealed to a younger audience than Prime Time, and boosted television ratings in the supper hour.

The move came on July 1, and Tim & Sid is heavily promoted in commercials on Blue Jay broadcasts as well as on McCown’s radio show, which some staffers say is another sore point. McCown said his resentment does not stem from Tim & Sid.

“My issue is not the promotion they’re getting. My issue is: why am I not getting that and never have gotten that?” he said. “The only thing I look at is if you are prepared to do this kind of promotion with them, why don’t you do it for us?”

Credit to the Toronto Globe and Mail where this story was originally published

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, according to sources.

The radio station has removed his shell from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website. An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now. He was tweeting during his show’s scheduled time, with this being his most recent one which also referenced the show which appeared to still be on the air at the time.

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. Since being with that group, he has worked with Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, 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.

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

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Vanessa Richardson

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.

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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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