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Under The Radar – September 9, 2016

Jason Barrett

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Another week of activity in the sports radio world, which is why this column has become one of the most popular written pieces on our website. I’d like to remind you that if you or your company have any news to share, it can be sent via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s the latest developments you may not have been aware of.

According to sources, 95.7 The Game in San Francisco is making changes to its weekday lineup. The radio station is expected to add JT The Brick in middays. The Brick has downplayed any involvement but sources say a deal is close. His show on FOX Sports Radio would be unaffected by the addition of a local program. In fact, he’s worked under that arrangement before.

SB Nation Radio 1560 in Houston is adding a new morning show with former Sports Radio 610 KILT evening host Brien Straw. “BStraw Radio” debuts today and will broadcast weekdays from 8a-10a CT. The program will focus on the local Houston teams, but also include a heavy college football focus.

Former Rip City 620 morning host Andy Bunker has landed an on-air role at 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. Bunker will be hosting Part Time for the station. He moved to Atlanta in June in order to be closer to his girlfriend who works locally for CNN. Prior to joining The Game, Bunker was part of Rip City Mornings with Taylor Danforth. He left the show in May, Danforth exited as well in July.

TSN 1050 in Toronto and midday host Mike Richards mutually parted ways in late August. The radio station has since been rebranding the 1p-4p timeslot as TSN 1050 Today. That’s expected to be a temporary situation until a permanent show is identified.

After making a series of lineup changes, 102.5 The Game in Nashville is now searching for a new Program Director. Jeremy Bennefield had run the stations since 2011 but is no longer with the company. The Cromwell Radio Group which owns the two Nashville sports stations has posted the position and is now accepting applications. If interested in the vacancy visit the jobs section.

Word out of Pittsburgh is that TribLive Radio has stopped operating as a live programming outlet. Instead, the company will feature a number of pre-recorded podcasts. The last true on-air talent, Josh Taylor, was let go a few weeks ago.

101 ESPN in St. Louis has rolled out an NFL pre-game show featuring midday host Anthony Stalter and Kevin Wheeler’s producer Brandon Kiley. Although the Rams departed for Los Angeles, St. Louis fans still have passion for the NFL, and Stalter and Kiley are hoping to tap into that interest on Sunday mornings.

More news out of St. Louis. The All-New 590 The Fan KFNS has signed an agreement to air Arizona Cardinals football games this NFL season. The Cardinals last played in St. Louis in 1987. KFNS co-owner Tim McKernan says the organization couldn’t have been easier to work with during negotiations, and he’s excited about the partnership.

Alpha Media is strengthening its sports talker ESPN 1230 in Columbia, South Carolina by adding an FM signal, and the syndicated Paul Finebaum show to its weekday lineup. The FM translator will make the station’s programming available locally on 94.9FM.

1500 ESPN in Minneapolis has added Andy Carlson‘s “Purple For The Win Podcast” to their digital offerings, and the PodcastOne platform. 1500 ESPN is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, who have ownership stakes in PodcastOne. Carlson describes the podcast as being “dedicated to the pain and pleasure that is the Minnesota Vikings”.

Turning to the television world, sources say that the NFL Network and reporter Rand Getlin have parted ways. BSM received an inside tip about this on Friday but was still waiting on confirmation. Since then, Getlin has changed his Twitter bio to reflect “NFL Insider” and his Linkedin page now states that he worked for the NFL Network from July 2015-September 2016. No word has been given on why the two sides are no longer continuing their relationship.

Alexa Datt has signed on with 120 Sports as the new co-host of “The Morning Run” with former ESPN anchor Michael Kim. Datt has been a part of the New York Mets coverage on SNY for the past few seasons. She also previously worked as the Mets in-stadium host.

The GooseTony Siragusa has joined Yahoo Sports as host of a special video series called “In The Trenches” which will be available on Yahoo Sports throughout the NFL season. The former NFL Defensive Lineman and FOX NFL Analyst will share stories from his career and offer analysis each week on the NFL’s biggest stories.

Philadelphia sports radio host Marc Farzetta is spreading his wings and adding some television work to his portfolio. The WIP personality announced that he’s joining the cast of The 700 Level, a local show which airs in the Philadelphia market on CSN Philadelphia. The program airs every Thursday.

Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon and Randy McIlvoy are now hosting a new program on Houston television titled “Houston Chronicle Texas Sports Nation“. The show airs Sunday night at 11pm CT on Channel 2 (KPRC-TV) and features Solomon and McIlvoy, as well as special guest appearances from other members of the Chronicle’s sports staff.

Sports Radio News

Fescoe in the Morning: ESPN Has a History of Ignoring Non-Partner Leagues

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

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Fescoe in the Morning

ESPN is out of the running for the Big Ten football and basketball media rights. Those will be awarded to a combination of other networks and likely a streaming service. ESPN appears to be focusing on NCAA Championships next.

Josh Klingler, co-host of Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, took time on their show on Tuesday to break down what that might mean for the Big Ten in terms of coverage.

“You’re (Big Ten) going to network television, which is better; more eyeballs and what have you,” noted Klingler. “But also, let’s not forget ESPN has a history of ignoring you when you’re not on their air. That’s the risk they are going to run.”

Klingler would add, “They are going to take the money. They are going to get network viewers, which is good. I guess the highlight and the hype and all those things that we are accustomed to doing that ESPN provides. We’ve already seen they ignore you if you’re not on their network.”

Bob Fescoe chimed in a reminder about another prominent league that chose not to partner with ESPN.

“Ask the National Hockey League what happened when they took the money from NBC and ran,” said Fescoe.

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

“Right, but I think they are willing to do that for a billion dollars per year,” Fescoe responded.

Fescoe then said that the Big Ten might make up for the perceived shortcomings of not being on ESPN by being on network television.

“If you’re going to be on network TV in all three windows, Josh, quite honestly all your marquee games are going to be free,” said Fescoe.

“That’s exposure,” said Klingler.

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NESN’s Dave O’Brien Says National Networks “Blew It” By Not Hiring Dennis Eckersley

“I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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Dennis Eckersley

On Monday, Dennis Eckersley decided to make it known that this season would be his last with NESN in the booth. He mentioned that after 50 years in baseball, it was time to go be with the grandchildren in San Diego.

His broadcast partner for a lot of those years in the NESN booth was Dave O’Brien. On the latest Sports Media Mayhem podcast, O’Brien joined show host Alex Reimer to talk about the retirement of Eckersley. Reimer pointed out that it took awhile before Eckersley became the main color analyst for the team. O’Brien remembered the time well.

“When he started, he was pre- and post- and he did that most of his career at NESN,” said O’Brien. “It was really, only the last six or seven years that he really started to get on as a game analyst.”

O’Brien was named the lead play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Red Sox coverage in 2016 which is about the same time Eckersley slid into the role of game analyst. In the time since, O’Brien has seen the work of Eckersley up close and is floored that he was working for a regional sports network and not somewhere more nationally prominent.

“I think the national people totally blew it on Dennis Eckersley,” blurted O’Brien. “And that includes Turner. They had an opportunity, I can say that because a lot of those people there now didn’t make the decision. He should have been the lead analyst doing national games. He should have been on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball or FOX. I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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Sports Radio News

Sal Paolantonio Not Interested In Trying Ayahuasca To Better Understand Aaron Rodgers

“Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately.”

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Dan Patrick is a very good interviewer. He asks the questions he knows his audience wants answered. He also makes a habit out of throwing out questions to his guests that they never see coming. That was the case on Tuesday for ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.

Paolantonio joined the Dan Patrick Show to discuss Pro Football Hall of Fame voting and the new NFL season. That is not what the host hit him with out of the gate.

The first question from Patrick to Paolantonio was “Just to relate to Aaron Rodgers, would you be willing to try ayahuasca?”.

Paolantonio was left speechless. All he could do was laugh and say “you got me on that one, Dan.”

Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately. The Green Bay quarterback recently said on a podcast that experimenting with ayahuasca opened him up to be ready to succeed both on the field and as a leader. He credits the experience with laying the foundation for his 2021 MVP season.

Patrick pushed the issue challenging Paolantonio to beat Andrea Kremer to the experience.

“My money is on the fearless Andrea Kremer,” Paolantonio shot back.

For the record, Kremer responded to the challenge on Twitter.

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