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99.1FM The Game Launches in Birmingham

Jason Barrett

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Competition is about to heat up in Birmingham, Alabama. A brand new sports talker, 99.1FM The Game, has been launched and the radio station has debuted with a familiar name, face and voice leading its charge.

Scott Griffin, has previously hosted shows on WJOX and the former ESPN 97.3 The Zone, and he’s also been a reporter and anchor on local television, appearing at at NBC 13/WVTM-TV, Fox 6/WBRC-TV and CBS 42/WIAT-TV. Griffin is hosting a local morning show titled “Smash Mouth Talk Radio”. The show currently airs 6:30a-9a, but will expand to 6am soon.

“It’s fun to get another shot at doing what I think I’m good at,” Griffin said of his return to radio. “Radio is like long-form communication, meaning I can expound on things, I can discuss topics, I can interview people.”

The Game’s general manager Lyle Reynolds told AL.com that the radio station plans to add more local programming over the next few days and weeks.

“We started out with Scott’s show in the morning because that’s a day part that we really care about a lot,” Reynold said. “And from there, we are going to start filling in the rest of the day parts with quality, local sports-talk radio.”

One other daypart that the radio station expects to be local in is afternoons. The radio station is rumored to be adding “The Drive,” with former Alabama football player Wes Neighbors and sports-talk show host Steve Moulten. The show broadcasts out of Huntsville on ESPN 97.7 FM The Zone and airs weekdays from 5p-7p.

In addition, 99.1FM The Game is airing a mixture of FOX Sports Radio, and NBC Sports Radio programming, and plans to carry Homewood High School football games, and become the Birmingham affiliate for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

WJOX 94.5 FM has dominated the sports-talk radio scene in Birmingham since the early 1990s, but Reynolds believes the market is big enough to support two locally-driven sports-talk brands.

“There are a lot of markets that have multiple (local) sports stations,” Reynolds said. “Birmingham does not. Now this is a pretty sports crazy town, as evidenced by the fact that consistently Birmingham is the top 10 rated television markets for the NBA finals and we don’t even have an NBA team. This market is a sports-heavy, sports-crazy market, so yeah, I think there is certainly room for (another station).”

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.

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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