Sports Radio News
Under The Radar – September 26, 2016
There’s never a dull moment in sports media. The past week produced a ton of news from the sports radio and television industries and in case you missed any of it, we’ve got you covered. A reminder, if you have a news story, promotion, or anniversary to share, you can email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. On to this week’s news we go!
Congratulations to Adam Hawk who has been named the new lead producer of the Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio. Hawk most recently produced JT The Brick on FOX Sports Radio, and previously produced the Fred Roggin Show in Los Angeles on 980 The Beast.
After parting ways with morning host Chad Doing a few weeks earlier, 95.7 The Game has replaced his position with the addition of Dan Dibley to the morning show. Dibley was part of the station’s original morning show, the Rise Guys, which included Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler. In his new role, Dibley will team up with Joe Fortenbaugh, Anna Kagarakis, and former NFL fullback Lorenzo Neal. The show will be titled “Joe, Lo, Dibs and Anna” and debuts on Monday September 26th.
CAA has landed Stephen A. Smith and will provide him with exclusive representation in all areas, including broadcasting, endorsements, publishing and speaking according to Sports Business Journal. A team of agents inside of CAA will represent Smith.
670 The Score in Chicago has announced that Len Kasper will join their broadcast team during the playoffs. Kasper will handle radio play by play duties for Cubs games during the 5th inning, and provide on the field interviews.
Speaking of play by play, Houston Astros TV play by play man Bill Brown has announced he will retire this month. The sixty nine year old Brown has spent nearly thirty years with the Astros, calling his first game for the franchise in 1987. His final broadcast will take place on September 28th when Houston faces the Seattle Mariners.
The taste of crow is one that Brendan Tobin of 790 The Ticket in Miami is about to become familiar with. The midday host said in August that he’d ‘eat crow’ if Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich hit 20 homers this season. Yelich had 11 homers at the time, and entered the season with 20 in his career during a span of 1,458 at bats. Well, Yelich got hot, and started hitting bombs, climbing to 19 before cooling off. But then last Wednesday, he took Max Scherzer deep to notch his 20th, leaving Tobin to have to pay the price. To his credit, Tobin says he will sit down, tuck in his napkin and eat every single piece.
Kentucky sports radio host Matt Jones is launching a new television show on Monday titled “Hey Kentucky“. The program debuts on WLEX-TV (Channel 18) at 7:30pm. Jones says the show will be like ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” but will venture beyond sports too. WLEX-TV president and general manager Pat Dalbey adds that the show will feature different co-hosts, including former UK stars, political figures, “whoever can lend a provocative voice to driving an engaging and lively debate with Matt.”
The Houston Rockets are tweaking their TV and radio broadcast pairings. Longtime TV play by play voice Bill Worrell will continue to call home games on television alongside former Rockets players Clyde Drexler, and Matt Bullard, but he’ll only work select road games. The team will utilize radio play by play man Craig Ackerman on most road games, and Sports Talk 790 radio host Matt Thomas on radio play by play when Ackerman shifts to television. Thomas also returns as the team’s public address announcer for home games. Additionally, 790 host Adam Clanton adds studio hosting duties on Rockets radio broadcasts.
As WEEI goes through its process of looking at hosts to potentially become a third member of the morning show, one interesting name was in the building last week. SB Nation Radio host and former NFL Quarterback and ESPN NFL Analyst Sean Salisbury sat in on Friday alongside Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan. A vacancy on the morning show was created when longtime morning man John Dennis left the show last month.
BSM would like to pass along condolences to Bob Fitzgerald who lost his wife last week to cancer. The KNBR radio host and TV voice of the Golden State Warriors had been married to his wife Carol for 26 years. Together they have three children. Services are scheduled for October 7th. The family has requested donations in Carol’s honor be made by clicking here.
92.3 The Fan morning host Anthony Lima is under fire from the Cleveland bicycling community. The morning host said on Friday that he gets a “murderous feeling” when stuck behind cyclists which drew the ire of Bike Cleveland Executive Director Jacob VanSickle, who wrote a letter to Program Director Andy Roth demanding that The Fan run educational announcements produced by Bike Cleveland, and require Lima, his partner Ken Carman, and the show’s producers, take part in a class taught by Bike Cleveland members to show what cyclists encounter on the road. Lima said he was trying to add levity to the show, and took the point too far, and is sorry if it was offensive.
97.1 The Fan in Columbus, Ohio has inked a new three year extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets to continue serving as the team’s radio partner. The Blue Jackets have played their games on The Fan since 2000-2001. Ryan Mitchell has joined the broadcast team handling pre, post and intermission hosting duties.
A new podcast is being launched by Jason Page. “The Intersection Podcast” will cover sports, politics and entertainment. Page says it will have something for everybody. The first two episodes will feature Detroit Pistons head coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy. Connoisseur Media CT will distribute the weekly podcast.
WRGRB-TV is in need of a new Sports Director. Doug Sherman, who had spent 19 years with the station, has announced that he will leave when his contract expires on October 31st to join ESPN as a play by play announcer. Sherman has called games on a part time basis for ESPN since 2003. His prior work has revolved mostly around college basketball and football broadcasts.
SB Nation Radio has strengthened its football contributors by adding former NFL wide receiver Keenan McCardell, and former NFL Quarterback Ryan Leaf. McCardell will appear weekly with Steve Bunin and Sean Salisbury. Leaf is hosting a 2-hour program on Saturday’s starting at 8pm.
Sports radio fans in Hattiesburg, Mississippi have reason to be excited. The Score 1400 has confirmed it will be launching soon as a Fox Sports Radio affiliate. The station will carry network programs with Clay Travis, Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd and Jay Mohr, and a local show “Pine Belt Sports Drive” weekdays at 5pm. The station has also added “To The Top Talk” with Jamie Arrington, every Tuesday at 6pm.
Brett Dawson has announced via social media that he’s joined The Oklahoman where he’ll contribute to the sports department’s coverage of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dawson previously worked in New Orleans covering the Pelicans.
A new member has been added to the MLB postseason broadcast team on TBS. Former Phillies, Dodgers and White Sox shortstop Jimmy Rollins is joining the network to provide analysis during the upcoming playoffs. He played for the White Sox this season but was released in June.
Mile High Sports in Denver has added Brittanie Fowler as a video host. Fowler is expected to contribute to the company’s website, and possibly to Mile High’s local magazine.
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
Jay Williams Calls Listener, Forces Him To Pay Their $1000 Lakers Bet
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
If you owe Jay Williams money, he is going to find you. Just ask Rob, a listener in Orlando who bet the ESPN Radio morning man that the Lakers would advance to the NBA Finals.
Last week, Rob called Keyshawn, JWill and Max and bet Williams $1000 the Lakers would eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Williams said if that happened, he would pay Rob $1500.
Obviously, that is not the way things played out. On Tuesday morning, Jay Williams called Rob demanding payment.
“He owes me my money,” he said. “So you know what we do? We got Detective Pat on the call today. Pat, let’s give this man a call. See if this guy picks up, trying to run away from giving me my money.”
The show’s associate producer Patrick Costello called the number Rob left last week. On the first attempt, the listener did not pick up. Williams vowed to keep up the pressure on social media and national radio and television until he got paid.
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
“You know, getting that money is a wrap, Jay,” Keyshawn Johnson said through laughter. “I told you that.”
The show made one more attempt to connect with Rob before having to turn things over to Greeny. This time, the Lakers fan picked up and acknowledged that he had to pay. He offered to make a donation in Williams’s name.
“I’ll send you my bank account here privately, and then I will send it to the charity of my choice,” Williams agreed.
Rob agreed to the arrangement. Williams asked him if he wanted to apologize for doubting the basketball analyst’s prediction of the Lakers’ demise.
“Apologize? I need the Lakers to apologize to me after that performance,” Rob said. “Because Jesus Christ, that was horrible. That was bad.”
Sports Radio News
Stoney & Jansen on LeBron James Retirement Talk: ‘NBA Needs Offseason Stories’
“I think we pick and choose with him. I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
As the Los Angeles Lakers exited the court after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, a grim reality set in across the basketball world regarding the future of forward LeBron James. Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up, James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, a 19-time All Star selection, four-time MVP, and four-time NBA champion.
During his postgame media availability on Monday, he stated that he had to seriously think about his future, undoubtedly referencing retirement. James just completed his 20th season in the Association and continues to play at a high level, but is going to think about walking away from the game after falling short of the NBA Finals this year.
“He’s been a pretty good soldier for the game,” said Tom Milikan, morning show producer and assistant program director at 97.1 The Ticket. “There’s been some things I haven’t agreed with him [on] that he’s liked or tweeted or whatever. I think he’s had some ignorance, but I think that applies to every single athlete out there that’s great.”
Throughout his NBA career, James has been the subject of criticism. The ESPN special he participated in titled The Decision saw him reveal he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. He is also a frequent subject across the network’s programming, including on Get Up, First Take and NBA Today.
“I think we pick and choose with him,” Millikan said. “I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
Show co-host Mike Stone read messages from the 97.1 The Ticket text line during the show, many of which criticized James for being a “flopping” player desperate for any semblance of attention since he will not be in the NBA Finals. One text suggested his revelation of weighing retirement was done intentionally, surmising that he has a film documentary crew around him and coming back stronger than ever would make for a great story.
“The league needs some offseason stories,” Millikan said. “From what I know, the free agency class is not all that great this year – and one of the big names is Kyrie Irving, and that’s toxic. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, maybe they’re generating buzz or trying to do the whole Brady thing.’ So be it – I’ve seen it 15 times in my life.”
Stone recognized that athletes like James are genuinely once-in-a-generation type talents, and that his time in the NBA has been defined by more than what he has done on the court. James has also been an immense advocate for greater causes, including social issues, youth education and community affairs. Whenever he decides to call it a career though, fans should rest assured that James has truly given the game everything he has.
“I want to see the best that they have for as long as possible,” show co-host Jon Jansen said of star athletes. “If they end up playing too long, so be it. I don’t care. Then I know I’ve [seen] it all.”
Sports Radio News
Danny Parkins: NFL Teams ‘Don’t Really Care About Your In-Stadium Experience’
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it.”
On Monday at the NFL Owners’ Meetings, flex scheduling for Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football was approved 24-8. Games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17 with 28 days notice required. Additionally, a maximum of two games can be flexed per season, with the entire operation being on “a trial basis.”
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it,” said Danny Parkins on 670 The Score as the news broke Monday. “[The] first rule already happened, and the Bears are one of the teams that either benefit or are victimized by the rule depending on your interpretation. You can play on multiple Thursdays this year. You can’t play multiple road Thursdays, but the Bears have two Thursday night games – in Washington and home against Carolina.”
In an effort to broadcast compelling action on a national stage, the National Football League did not give all of its 32 teams at least one game on national television this season. Conversely, the New York Jets, complete with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be featured on national television for the maximum of six times, including two matchups on Thursday Night Football. The Jets, along with the Chicago Bears, dissented from voting in favor of flexible scheduling, but Parkins assumes it has nothing to do with the fans.
“My guess is [it is] because they already have two Thursday night games,” Parkins said. “Maybe they’re just altruistic and they care about fans and travel and all that, but I bet you that they said, ‘Well, we’re playing in Week 5 in Washington and Week 10 at home against Carolina. We don’t want to risk Bears-Browns or Bears-Falcons being flexed into Thursday Night Football later in the season and end up with three Thursday night games.’”
Many football fans and media professionals have pushed back on granting the property any type of flex scheduling because of the negative impact it has on injury prevention, something that is not as pronounced with other properties solely because of the day of the week. Sunday Night Football on NBC was previously the only property with flex scheduling ability, and Monday Night Football on ESPN is being granted that ability between Weeks 12 and 17 with at least 12 days notice.
“They don’t really care about your in-stadium experience – they don’t,” Parkins said of the league. “As long as you watch on TV, they’re thrilled because that’s where they make a huge, ungodly percentage of their money – more so than any of the other sports.”