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Under The Radar – March 6, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Here are the latest developments inside sports media circles. If you have a future news tip, press release, promotion or other tidbit to pass along, you can reach me at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

According to sources, big changes are on coming to the update desks in New York. As part of the adjustments, WFAN update anchors are expected to handle update duties on WINS 1010AM. CBS Sports Network anchors will pull double duty taking on update responsibilities at WCBS 880AM. There could also be some adjustments coming to the overnight schedules. Stay tuned.

In Milwaukee, Drew Olson has a brand new daily show on The Big 920. Olson joined iHeartMedia Milwaukee in August after a long run with Good Karma’s ESPN 540 and will be installed in mid-days from 1p-3p CT. Former host Mitch Nelles is transitioning into a full time sales role with the company.

Across town at Olson’s former employer, FOX Sports Wisconsin‘s Sophia Minnaert will appear daily as a guest on ESPN Milwaukee to provide updates on the latest happenings with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Former St. Louis sports radio host Brian McKenna is home and recovering after undergoing four surgeries in three weeks to battle a cancerous cell. During the process there were complications which caused nerve damage and partial paralysis to the right side of Brian’s face. Although the cells were removed, Brian still faces a long road ahead which includes additional surgeries and therapy. The broadcasting community is encouraged to reach out and lend a hand by contributing via the family’s GoFundMe page.

Congratulations is in order for Rob Taylor who has signed on with 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland as an anchor. Taylor previously worked in Dayton, Ohio where he spent over a decade at Alpha Media’s HOT 102.9 and 1410 ESPN Radio.

Former WHB evening host T.J. Carpenter has landed a new opportunity in Denver. Carpenter will be relocating to join Sean Walsh on Mile High Sports Radio 1340AM. The pair will team up weekdays from 2p-4p MT.

Following the arrival of 1580 The Fanatic in Phoenix, former NBC Sports Radio 1060AM program director and talk show host Rich Gray has decided to make the jump and work for the upstart sports station. Gray has signed on with the station as an on-air producer.

WGN in Chicago has added former NHL defenseman Brent Sopel as a hockey analyst and weekend talk show host. Sopel will be part of the weekend show “The Beat” which includes Mark Carman, Adam Hoge, and Jarrett Payton.

Longtime Los Angeles Kings broadcaster Bob Miller announced his retirement last week following doctor’s orders. The 78-year old Miller had suffered a mild stroke in January and was encouraged to step aside and focus on his health. Miller called Kings games from 1973 to 2017. Former Dallas Stars play by play voice Ralph Stangis will call the team’s games going forward with analyst Jim Fox.

According to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe, Evan Drellich is leaving the Boston Herald for a multi-platform opportunity at Comcast SportsNet New England. Drelich has also appeared recently on WEEI creating some explosive content with Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan.

The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel reports that Kaylee Hartung will be leaving ESPN to join CNN. Hartung has been with ESPN since 2012. Prior to that she worked for CBS News in Washington D.C. She’s expected to join CNN in April.

Michael Gehlken has confirmed that he’s no longer with the San Diego Union Tribune. Gehlken had been working the San Diego Chargers beat but with the team moving to Los Angeles his position was eliminated.

Sports Radio News

Jeff Thurn To Exit ESPN Sioux Falls To Join ESPN Radio

“I get to stay here and do it from here. Who gets to radio from Sioux Falls on a national level?”

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ESPN Sioux Falls host Jeff Thurn will depart the station for a new national position with ESPN Radio.

The host of Overtime from 11:00 AM-2:00 PM on ESPN Sioux Falls, Thurn has been with the station for more than a decade.

Thurn thanked executives at Results Radio — owner of ESPN Sioux Falls — as well as listeners and guests for being so supportive during his tenure with the show and station during a thread posted to Twitter.

Thurn joined ESPN Radio as a fill-in host in February of last year.

“I’m so pumped to get to go out there and do something on a national level,” Thurn told Dakota News Now last year. “I get to stay here and do it from here. Who gets to radio from Sioux Falls on a national level? I think it’s really cool just growing up here, having that opportunity, to now do that on ESPN Radio throughout 2022…that’s pretty cool for me personally.”

His final show on ESPN Sioux Falls will be on Friday, February 3rd.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Adam Schefter Was Used By the Broncos

“Based on other stories that have come out — that we now know as a fact — he’s willing to be a mouthpiece for a team.”

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Tuesday was a frenzy for NFL insiders as the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans nearly simultaneously announced the hiring of new head coaches, and WFAN host Craig Carton believes one NFL insider was used.

Reporting from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport at 4:44 PM ET claimed the Broncos tried to hire DeMeco Ryans — who was hired by the Texans — at the last minute, but was rebuffed, and Denver hired Sean Payton instead.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter — in no uncertain terms — refuted the validity of that report at 4:55 PM ET.

Carton believes Schefter was used by the franchise to help with damage control.

“So here’s the deal: Adam Schefter — many, many years ago — used to write for The Denver Post, and he covered the Denver Broncos,” Carton said. “He is clearly — to his credit – getting his information directly from the Denver Broncos who figure that that story from Ian Rapoport — and it is — is somewhat embarrassing…the fact that it’s out there is a bad look.

“So they go to Schefter who, along with Rapoport — the two voices of record as insiders — and they say ‘Nonsense. Put out there that that’s nonsense’. Rapoport’s getting his information DeMeco or his agent, saying “Naw, naw, no. He had choices. He could have gone to Houston, he could have gone to Denver. Obviously, the Texans sweetened the deal’.”

“Schefter’s getting his info from the Broncos, who are doing damage control,” co-host Evan Roberts concurred.

“Schefter’s great at what he does, I’m not saying that he’s not,” Carton continued. “But based on other stories that have come out — that we now know as a fact — he’s willing to be a mouthpiece for a team — namely Washington — and again, he’s great at what he does. I wanna be clear at how I state this, he’s great at what he does, but it’s obvious that the Broncos are trying to spin this, and they’re using Schefter to spin it.”

Roberts added that the situation was similar to that of NBA Insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, where Wojnarowski “speaks for front offices, where Shams gets his info from players and agents”.

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Sports Radio News

K&C Masterpiece: Cowboys Could Add 30 Million More Viewers To Super Bowl

“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings.”

Jordan Bondurant

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The matchup in this year’s Super Bowl is set, and the game will undoubtedly be the most-viewed program on TV this year. But if the Dallas Cowboys were taking part in the game, it’s safe to say the ratings would be astronomical.

The Cowboys divisional playoff game against San Francisco drew 45.7 million viewers. It was the second-most watched divisional round contest on record.

The NFC championship between San Francisco and Philadelphia drew 47.5 million.

On 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, K&C Masterpiece host Kevin Hageland said had the Cowboys made it to Philly, the viewership would’ve been even better.

“I know the game sucked, but that just shows you, because the Cowboys were like almost 8 million above every other divisional game, this could’ve gotten to 58 (million),” Hageland said.

Kevin added that if Dallas had gone all the way, the audience tuning in would’ve easily eclipsed some of the highest-rated programs of all-time.

“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings,” he said. “Even with the new system and so many people streaming and everything like that.”

Usually the Super Bowl averages around 100 million viewers. Hageland said a Cowboys Super Bowl appearance in this day and age would’ve set the new top ratings mark for years to come.

“My estimation would be you would add approximately an extra 30 million people,” he said.

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