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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – October 3, 2016

Jason Barrett

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The sports media world never stops making news and we’re here to make it easier for you to consume all of it. A quick reminder, if you have a story, promotion, personnel move or valuable piece of information to share, you can pass it along via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news we go.

Stephen A. Smith has changed agents, dropping Headline Media in New York City for CAA in Los Angeles. Smith re-signed with ESPN last year for a little more than 3 million dollars per year. CAA, which represents Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd, and helped both men land deals with FS1 for more than 5-6 million annually, are being tasked with helping SAS earn a bigger payday.

The sports radio scene in Nashville continues to be dominated by 104.5 The Zone. In the September book, The Zone delivered a 13.3 in mornings, 14.3 in middays, and 12.2 in afternoons. All three of their shows, the Wake-Up Zone, Midday 180 and 3HL finished #1. Local competitor 102.5 The Game was far behind in the ratings but the station recently underwent lineup changes which they hope will make a bigger difference in the future.

In Boston, the battle between 98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI remains a tight one. The Hub won the summer book (July-Sept.) with Men 25-54. All of their weekday shows finished 1st overall and popped double digit ratings. They sit comfortably ahead by 2-3 ratings points in each weekday slot. WEEI was 2nd in morning and afternoon and 4th in middays. However, WEEI finished ahead of The Hub with Men 18+, Men 25-64, Men 35-54 and gained 26% with Men 25-54 year to year. The Hub lost 12% with Men 25-54 during the past 12 months. The Hub though was 1st overall with Men 18-44 and Men 25-44. The two stations continue to thrive and make Boston the top rated sports market in America.

101 ESPN continues to go through the audition process searching for a third host for their afternoon show “The Fast Lane“. So far a number of talented individuals have received a look. Former football players Isaac Byrd, Cam Davis, TJ Moe and Michael Young, former hockey player Cam Janssen and broadcasters Katie Felts and Jonathan Platek have all been in. Chris Rongey is in this week for a couple of days and a few others will appear in upcoming weeks before the station makes a final decision. “The Fast Lane” is consistently one of the top rated spoken word programs in the St. Louis market.

Kent Sterling has been elevated to Program Director of CBS Sports 1430 in Indianapolis. Sterling, currently hosts afternoons on the radio station. He’s previously programmed 101 ESPN in St. Louis and 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis.

It’s the end of an era in Atlanta. Entercom has sold radio station AM 790 (WQXI) to Atlanta Radio Korea for $850,000. Over the past two decades, 790 The Zone broadcast sports talk on that signal and became a very successful brand. Led by Steak Shapiro and Andrew Saltzman, the radio station produced big revenues and launched successful talents including Shapiro, Chris Dimino, Nick Cellini, Mike Bell, Matt Chernoff, Chuck Oliver, David Pollack and the 2 Live Stews. The station was eventually sold to Lincoln Financial who then sold it to Entercom. The station most recently simulcasted programming from Star 94.

Sports Radio 94WIP has added a new producer. Ben Livingston has been added following a successful run producing 93.7 The Fan’s morning show in Pittsburgh which features Colin Dunlap, Jim Colony and Josh Miller. Livingston is originally from Philadelphia.

97.1 The Fan in Columbus has a new Web/On-Air Producer. Brandon Beam has been tasked with producing “Tim and Beanie” and overseeing the management of The Fan’s web and mobile sites. He’ll work with the staff on creating fresh stories, video, and podcasts, along with providing analytics.

Hockey season is just around the corner and TSN 1050 in Toronto is strengthening their coverage with the addition of Patrick O’Sullivan as a Maple Leafs analyst.

Derek Fogel has left 103.5 ESPN in Southern Illinois to join Sports Radio 610 KILT in Houston as a sports anchor and weekend/fill-in host. Fogel will also write for CBSHouston.com.

College Basketball Insider Jon Rothstein is following in the footsteps of Jon Heyman and joining the FanRag Sports Network. Rothstein will write and report for the website. Although he will no longer write for CBS Sports, he will continue to appear on the CBS Sports Network’s studio shows and serve as a sideline reporter on game broadcasts.

Evan Daniels has signed on with FOX Sports and FOX Sports 1 as the network’s new College Basketball Insider. Daniels began his new role on October 1st.

The folks at 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis have added a new podcast. Phil Mackey confirms he’ll be hosting “Hardball Society“, a baseball themed podcast focusing on stories and opinions from baseball insiders. The first two episodes feature Aaron Boone and Jim Brower as guests.

Jake Brown has launched a new podcast on CBS Radio’s Play.It network. “The Jake Brown Show” will feature a mixture of sports and entertainment.

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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