Sports Radio News
Orlando Alzugaray, a Fixture on Miami Sports Radio
As football season steps into overdrive and we all start hemming and hawing about our favorite college and pro teams, I called an old friend who is quite knowledgeable about sports and treated myself to a rainy afternoon sports jam session (or descarga, as we like to say in Spanish) over a delectable stogie at a tucked away cigar shop in Kendall.
The difference between my sports chat and the thousands of others taking place that very drizzly afternoon in South Florida is that I was conversing with none other than WQAM’s sports talk host Orlando “the big O” Alzugaray — and what a treat it was.
The “Big O” as he is affectionately called by listeners, has been a fixture on South Florida’s radio waves for over two decades. Consistently offering a local take on the Dolphins, Heat, Canes, Marlins and Panthers, Alzugaray is as down home Miami as you can get — a homer, a fan, the kind of guy you want to tailgate with.
Part of Alzugaray’s success in connecting with his listeners has been the fact that he feels the same pain we do when our local teams flop. “I love the home teams. I feel the pain the average fan feels, though I try to be analytical and realistic,” Alzugaray explained between puffs of his aromatic cigar. “And no matter how much I try to take a step back and be impartial,” he confided, “sometimes I too can be a ‘blind ass fan’ (a term that he has popularized on his show).”
It is precisely that “blind” passionate flare for local sports that keeps listeners like me tuning in every day.
In a market full of transplants, particularly from the Northeast, Alzugaray is refreshingly native. From his distinct musical rejoiners to references to events of Miami’s past, Alzugaray provides a rarity in South Florida media, a connection to our history — to events on and off sports fields.
“I’ve had a chance to go elsewhere,” he told me, “but Miami is where I want to be. It’s where my wife and I are raising our daughter. It’s home.”
The Big O is sometimes abrasive and challenging. However, it’s always done in the most unpretentious of ways. When you tune in to his show (weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) you’ll never hear him auditioning to get a network gig. He is as non-politically-correct as any radio talent in this market since the late, great Neil Rogers — quite refreshing in today’s cookie cutter, homogenous world of entertainment.
I began my own career in media over 20 years ago covering sports on the same station alongside the Big O and what impressed me about him then is still true about him today: He is tireless when it comes to watching, breaking down and analyzing sports. This guy really does his homework.
An example of this is his yearly trip to the college football Senior Bowl—an all-star game for college seniors, where pro scouts gather to evaluate talent. Alzugaray has been a mainstay at this bowl game in Mobile, Ala., and especially the week of practice leading up to the game for over 15 years — for most of those, he has paid his own way
“Actually, cigars have gone a long way for me in building relationships with lots of NFL scouts and general managers,” Alzugaray confided. “I stock up on stogies when I go up to Mobile and spend the week having after-hour cigars with many decision makers in the NFL. That’s how I’ve built some great relationships over the years. “
That is a testament to his work ethic and his desire to learn more about the game he talks about on the air, and the deep respect he has for the listeners who are intrigued by the inside information that the Big O gathers and shares with them on the air — or while enjoying a good cigar.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports Radio News
Gregg Giannotti: Doug Gottlieb Is ‘Using My Name’ To Deflect Blame From Himself
“I wasn’t there. This was 2013 before the incident. I wasn’t even there.”
Earlier this week, Doug Gottlieb revisited a gaffe he made on the set of CBS’s NCAA Tournament Selection Show a decade ago. On a set that included Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley, Greg Gumbel, and Kenny Smith, Gottlieb said that he was there to “provide the white man’s perspective.” Gottlieb owned that it was a poor attempt at humor, but Gregg Giannotti takes issue with the FOX Sports Radio host’s version of events that lead up to the televised misstep.
“If you’ll allow me, I’d like to clear my name for a little bit,” Giannotti said on Wednesday’s edition of Boomer and Gio on WFAN.
Gottlieb contends that he tried out a better rehearsed version of the joke in a number of other places before going on television and it was well-received. No one told him it was a bad idea or that if delivered in the wrong way, it could create problems. One of those places, according to Gottlieb, was CBS Sports Radio’s Gio & Jones.
One problem, the show did not exist in 2013.
“Here are my issues with this,” Gregg Giannotti said. “One, I wasn’t there. This was 2013 before the incident. I wasn’t even there. Two, he is placing blame now on whoever he told this to to stop him and say ‘Don’t do this on the set!’”.
Boomer Esiason, Giannotti’s WFAN partner said he can see how Gottlieb overlooked the reality that this joke would not land well with a general audience. Former athletes are used to joking with one another like this in locker rooms. Plus, being on a set with Barkley and Smith may have made Gottlieb think that he would get a little more leeway.
Esiason added that he can see how Gottlieb would assume Gio was there. The show on CBS Sports Radio that he was likely on was MoJo, which featured Brian Jones and Chris Moore. It became Gio & Jones in 2015 when Giannotti came to CBS Sports Radio from 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, where worked in 2013. More surprising to Esiason was the Gottlieb wanted to talk about this a decade after it happened.
“He’s still hanging on this,” Giannotti answered. “The issue I have is that he is using me, saying that he tried it out on me and that I found it hilarious but I should have stopped him from saying the joke when I wasn’t even part of this. I was talking about the god damn Penguins!”
Sports Radio News
Charles Barkley: ‘I Want to Be on TV Less’
“His contract with Warner Bros. Discovery runs through 2024-25.”
It’s possible you could see Charles Barkley appearing occasionally on CNN.
Reports from The Wall Street Journal and Variety this week indicate the cable news network is close to finishing a deal that would have Gayle King on the network. Rumors have said that the network would like to have Barkley join her, but Barkley says nothing is decided on his end.
In an appearance on Bickley & Marotta on Arizona Sports on Tuesday, the Suns legend and NBA on TNT analyst said he and King are friends so this wouldn’t be a situation where the duo would be coming in green.
“I’ve gotten to know her well through the years through my relationship with Oprah (Winfrey) and she’s just cool,” Barkley said. “I said, ‘I would consider doing a show with Gayle, one day a week starting in the fall.'”
But Barkley, 60, reiterated what he’s made known for a while now: he doesn’t plan on sticking around in the TV business for too much longer. His contract with Warner Bros. Discovery runs through 2024-25. So this CNN opportunity could be pretty limited in scope, which is what Charles desired.
“It’ll only be one day a week if I decide to do it,” Barkley said. “I said, ‘No, I don’t want to be on TV more. I want to be on TV less.'”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Sports Radio News
John Kincade: Thursday Night Football Flex Vote About ‘Licking Jeff Bezos’s Boots’
“For these billionaires to be licking his boots? Embarrassing. They can’t do this. It’s obnoxious.”
A report claims that at the NFL owners meetings, a proposal to give the league the ability to implement flex scheduling for Thursday Night Football was proposed. 97.5 The Fanatic’s John Kincade was flabbergasted at the idea.
The proposal would allow the NFL to move scheduled games in the final weeks of the season from Sunday to Thursday. The league would also have to change the rule that teams could only play one Thursday Night Football game per season to accommodate the change.
During The John Kincade Show Tuesday, the host claimed that even considering the idea was simply a matter of the owners kowtowing to Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, whose company — Prime Video — broadcasts the package.
“They’re licking Jeff Bezos’s boots,” Kincade said. “I can only imagine buddies running trips and fans go ‘Ok, I’m going to the Eagles game on Sunday. I’m flying in Friday, spend two nights in a hotel, and fly out Monday’. Oh no you’re not, the game’s been moved to Thursday night. This is freaking ridiculous, and shining Bezos’s shoes is freaking embarrassing. For these billionaires to be licking his boots? Embarrassing. They can’t do this. It’s obnoxious.”
Kincade continued by marvelling at the idea even being floated to the public.
“To me, it’s just such a dumb idea. But sometimes those things happen in sports.”
The 97.5 The Fanatic host is not the only sports media member who has shared their displeasure with the proposal this week. Monday Morning Quarterback’s Peter King aired similar sentiments, saying “We can all agree this seems insane.”