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Under The Radar – January 16, 2017

Jason Barrett

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A number of news items you may not be aware of from the world of sports media. As usual, if you have a tip to share or a press release to pass along, send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s this week’s news.

John Cassio has been hired by SiriusXM as the new program director of College Sports Nation. Cassio fills the vacancy left behind by TJ Cuttini. Prior to accepting the offer to join SiriusXM, Cassio was the program director for Fox Sports 97.3 The Fan in Fort Meyers, FL.

In Boston, WEEI.com has added Alex Reimer as a full-time contributor. Reimer will also continue making on-air contributions to Kirk and Callahan‘s morning show on WEEI.

Here’s a very cool idea that Atlanta sports radio personality Mark Zinno has developed. The evening host on 92.9 The Game has announced he’s launching the Hazard Ground Podcast, a program which will include conversations with military members and their stories of survival, combat, and beyond. To check it out click here. The first episode drops on Tuesday.

Congratulations to Owen Lademann who been named the new producer of Ken Carman and Anthony Lima‘s morning show on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland. Lademann had previously produced Nick Wilson‘s evening show on the station. He fills the vacancy left behind by Landry Locker who left for Houston to produce MaD Radio on Sports Radio 610.

Look for former 97.5 The Fanatic host Jon Marks to resurface soon on the airwaves in Philadelphia. Marks’ non-compete is expected to expire soon. While it’s unclear which station he will be heard on, local sources say to expect him to join WIP. Stay tuned.

After winning a world series, the Chicago Cubs are satisfied sticking with what’s worked on their television broadcasts. The team has signed TV broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim DeShaies to contract extensions through the 2019 season.

Speaking of contracts, Ben Maller has inked a new deal to remain on the airwaves of FOX Sports Radio. Premiere Radio Networks, which operates FSR, has been very pleased with Maller’s performance and growth.

One additional contract extension comes from the CBS Sports Radio Network. Amy Lawrence has agreed to terms to continue patrolling the network’s airwaves overnight. The network has signed her to a multi-year deal.

Congratulations is in order for Cliff Saunders who has been retained for a 5th season on Houston Astros pre and postgame shows. Astros radio broadcasts are carried on NewsRadio 740 KTRH in Houston.

Matt Pauley is adding to his workload by adding anchor work at SB Nation Radio. Pauley also works for 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee as the station’s pre and postgame host for Milwaukee Brewers baseball.

A second sports station has been introduced in Eugene, Oregon. Steve Woodward has launched FOX Sports Eugene, which includes FSR programming, play by play from the Portland Trail Blazers and San Francisco 49ers, and local reports. The station is broadcasting on KORE 1050AM, which previously aired Christian programming for over four decades.

Meanwhile in San Antonio, Cox Radio has decided to exit the sports format. The company has flipped CBS Sports Radio 860 to the oldies format.

Alex Womer has been named Sports Blitz anchor on FOX Sports 1330 and Assistant Production Director of Connoisseur Media‘s six radio stations in Eerie, PA. Womer had worked for the company in a variety of roles before being elevated to full-time status.

In the TV world, ESPN is losing one of its play by play announcers. Eamon McAnaney is leaving the network for a full time anchor role with SNY.

ESPN high profile personality Stephen A. Smith is one of seven honorees who will be inducted into the 2016-2017 John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association will hold its ceremony for the honorees on February 24th.

The WWE has hired Vic Travagliante as an on-air announcer. He will go by the name of Vic Joseph on the air. He’s recently served as the voice of the wrestling promotion House of Hardcore, and previously spent time working for the Cleveland Browns Network and CBS Cleveland.

Sports Radio News

Joe DeCamara & Jon Ritchie Reveal Contributors To New WIP Morning Show

“Angelo for many, many years has had a wonderful team. And obviously we’re indebted to what he did for all the years putting everything together.”

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The Philadelphia Eagles postseason run will determine how much longer Angelo Cataldi hosts his morning show on 94 WIP. While hosts Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie wait in the wings to take the reins from Angelo, they took time on Wednesday to reveal the rest of the cast of contributors and fill-in hosts for the new WIP morning show.

“Angelo for many, many years has had a wonderful team. And obviously we’re indebted to what he did for all the years putting everything together,” DeCamara said. “We want to just sort of duplicate it at a similar level of success and longevity. And to do that you want to put together a group that you really believe in and want to have a great shot with and entertain people for years.”

DeCamara and Ritchie revealed that longtime morning contributors Rhea Hughes and Joe Weachter will continue to serve in their capacities. DeCamara said he’s excited to work with such a tenured producer and have him and producer James Seltzer collaborate.

“Everybody cares about Joe, because he’s been such a huge part of Angelo’s show for so many years behind the scenes as the producer,” DeCamara said. “He’s gonna be producing this show in addition to helping James out. And we got ambitious plans for social media and ways we can get Joe involved in all sorts of ways to help present our show to the public. So that’ll be a big part of it.”

WIP newcomer Devan Kaney will also be a regular on the morning show. DeCamara also announced Philly sports media legend Ray Didinger will also be heard at certain points.

As for insiders and contributors to discussions on the Philly sports teams, it was announced former Phillies TV analyst Ruben Amaro, former Phils announcer Ben Davis, former Eagles linebacker Seth Joyner and Ron Jaworski will be in the lineup.

Ritchie said having someone like Amaro on to talk baseball is going to be a great chance to soak up as much knowledge as possible.

“You know so much, and I feel like I’m gonna learn so much from you,” he said. “And I think we’re all so fortunate.”

Additionally, comedian Joe Conklin will be added to keep things lively and fun.

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Sports Radio News

Steak Shapiro Apologizes, Says He Didn’t Think Stetson Bennett Criticism Was ‘That Inflamatory’

“You were just trying to play music and not ignore the fans. Still don’t think it was a great speech, but again, you’re the biggest football hero in Georgia football history.”

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Wednesday’s edition of The Steakhouse was one Atlanta sports fans were waiting for. Late Tuesday night, Steak Shapiro took to Twitter to promise that he would address Stetson Bennett IV’s reaction to his criticism of the way the quarterback behaved at Georgia’s National Championship parade on Saturday.

“The notion is that Steak was basically roasted,” he said of the coverage the social media spat received. “He was put on the grill and taken to task.”

Shapiro had tweeted that he did not think it was a good look for Bennett to be on his phone during the championship parade and that his speech seemed more about settling old grudges than it was about celebrating the team or the fans. In a message on Twitter, which began by addressing Shapiro as “Mr. Med Rare”, Bennett explained that he was using his phone to play music in the car he was riding in. He was not ignoring the moment or the fans.

After giving Bennett credit for coming up with a funny nickname, Steak Shapiro said that he was surprised that the quarterback took the criticism so personally.

“My job is to give an opinion. I didn’t think it was that inflammatory. I didn’t think it was that dramatic.”

He added that has no problem with Stetson’s disdain for the media. He just thought the parade should have been about the fans and the accomplishment rather than Stetson Bennett IV trying to settle old grudges. Still, Shapiro wanted to make it clear that he does not hate the Georgia quarterback. He remains one of Bennett’s most vocal fans.

“On three or four occasions, I was lambasted because I said I thought he was the greatest player in Georgia history, and I said that before he won the national title,” Shapiro said. “I said that when they had the undefeated regular season, and then people started saying ‘stop saying that about Stetson’ or ‘Stetson’s overrated’. I just kinda had his back the entire year and probably had his back the last two years. I just didn’t think Saturday was a great day. That is what I have been saying, and I stand by it. I just didn’t think it was a great-looking day.”

Steak Shapiro did offer an apology to Bennett. He said that if the quarterback was just trying to play music on his phone, that isn’t that big of a deal, and if he had known that is what was happening, his reaction may have been different.

“My bad,” he concluded. “You were just trying to play music and not ignore the fans. Still don’t think it was a great speech, but again, you’re the biggest football hero in Georgia football history. You’re one of the iconic sports figures — maybe number one — in a town of Hank Aaron, and Chipper Jones, and Domonique Wilkins, and Matt Ryan, and Deion Sanders. You’re probably number one all time.”

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Sports Radio News

Brian Gebhardt to Serve as Program Director of Sactown Sports 1140

“Learning under skilled leaders such as Terry Foxx, Sean Thompson, Reggie Rouse, and Mike Conti helped prepare Gebhardt for the next step.”

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Sactown Sports 1140 has found their next program director. After an extensive search, GM Steve Cottingim and Bonneville Sacramento’s Group Director of Programming Chad Rufer have found their next leader in Atlanta, GA, tabbing Brian Gebhardt to guide the brand’s programming department.

Gebhardt heads west to join Bonneville Sacramento after enjoying over seven years of success at 92.9 The Game. He has served recently as the Executive Producer of the ‘Andy & Randy’ show featuring Randy McMichael and Andy Bunker. During his time with the Atlanta sports station, Gebhardt has learned under skilled leaders such as Terry Foxx, Sean Thompson, Reggie Rouse, and Mike Conti. Those experiences prepared Gebhardt for the next step, as did working with numerous on-air talents who have helped The Game become a model of consistency in Georgia.

“Brian’s experience working with both premiere talent and professional sports franchises will help us help the Sactown Sports brand grow both on-air and on-line ,” said Cottingim.

“Brian demonstrated to us a real passion for leading extraordinary talent,” shared Rufer. “We are very confident that he will help us grow Sactown Sports into Sacramento’s premiere sports brand.”

“I can’t wait to get started and I am beyond excited to be working with Bonneville,” added Gebhardt.  

The hiring of the Georgia native as new PD allows Nick Cattles to focus exclusively on hosting the station’s afternoon show, a role he’s wanted to invest more time. Cattles joined Sactown Sports in November 2021 and has pulled double duty since arriving in Northern California. He hired Ramie Makhlouf as his afternoon drive co-host and the duo have built a solid foundation in afternoons. Having the ability now to focus solely on the show should allow Cattles and Ramie to elevate their program even more.

The first day on the job for Gebhardt will be Monday February 3rd. Depending on what develops with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC playoffs, there’s a possibility he could be walking into two straight weeks of Super Bowl planning. Regardless, Gebhardt has a new market to learn, a new team to meet, a new company to deliver results for, and an opportunity to take a big step in his radio career.

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