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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – May 8, 2017

Jason Barrett

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The news continues to trickle in from the world of sports radio. Here’s the latest developments that might have slipped by you. As a reminder, it’s a huge help to us when you pass along your information via email. If you or your station have news worth sharing, a tip, a press release or a job related change, please let us know so we can share your story with the rest of the format. Now on to this week’s stories.

After Terry Foster announced his departure from 97.1 The Ticket‘s afternoon show, the immediate question became “how will this impact Mike Valenti‘s future?” Does the talented host stay in afternoons as a solo act? Does he add a partner? Or does he explore a change of scenery? Well, it looks like the Detroit sports talker could have his eyes on the biggest piece of real estate in the format. According to the NY Daily News, Valenti is a finalist for Mike Francesa‘s seat on WFAN. Whether it’d be as a solo act or as part of a team show is unclear, but if Mark Chernoff decides to take a risk and install Valenti into drive time in the big apple, despite not having worked previously in the market (aside from a few fill-ins), it’d certainly be seen as a big risk. Risk taking though is part of Chernoff’s DNA (Boomer & Carton after Imus, no partner for Francesa after Russo left) and his track record when making big decisions is very strong.

Well wishes go out to Damon Bruce of 95.7 The Game. The San Francisco afternoon host is recovering from a health scare. No time frame has been given for his return to the airwaves but knowing D-Bruce, expect him to be focused on getting healthy so he can get back to doing what he loves. To send a positive thought his way via Twitter click here.

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons deserves a round of applause for helping create an entertaining radio moment last week. After beating the New York Yankees, the Jays skipper dialed into SportsNet 590 The Fan‘s postgame show “Jay’s Talk” as “John in the Bronx” and proceeded to ask host Mike Wilner if he agreed that Marco Estrada is one of the best pitchers in the league. He also busted Wilner’s chops about being wrong on the pregame shows and capped off the call up by asking about free tickets and Wilner’s ratings. To hear the prank call click here.

Bob Fescoe and Mike Welch of 610 Sports conducted one of the best interviews I heard on radio last week. The Kansas City morning crew welcomed former Chiefs running back Larry Johnson to the show. It was the first time Johnson had talked to the Kansas City media in seven years. During the course of the twenty six minute interview, Johnson was extremely candid and apologetic about many of the missteps he made during his career. It’s definitely worth a listen. Click here to hear it.

Congrats are in order for Kyle Bailey and Frank Garcia who have taken over the midday slot on WFNZ in Charlotte. The duo can be heard weekdays from 10am-2pm. To learn more about the show click here.

Sid Rosenberg continues to make news. The WABC radio host announced via social media last week that he’ll be making his debut on the CBS Sports Radio Network on Saturday May 20th. Rosenberg will be on from 10a-2p ET.

Tampa sports radio legend Steve Duemig says he’s officially done with treatments and hopes to return to WDAE soon. Duemig has been battling brain cancer and has been sidelined since February.

After hearing from multiple sources that Chris Cantore‘s stint at the Mighty 1090 had ended, the information has now been confirmed by Cantore himself. The San Diego radio veteran is out after just five weeks. No word yet from 1090 on who will replace him.

Pete Sheppard has been making hosting appearances on ESPN SWFL (Southwest Florida) 99.3FM, a Beasley owned radio station. The former Boston sports radio host moved south to the sunshine state a few months ago and has been filling in from time to time.

In the Omaha sports radio winter ratings, 1620 The Zone remained the market’s leading sports radio brand. The radio station placed 5th with Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p and 6th with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid. Local competitor ESPN 590 was 9th in both categories. The Zone was particularly strong in mornings. Sharp & Benning registered a 3rd place finish, which was best on the station for the quarter.

Congrats go out to Jason Wechsler who has been hired by 101.3 ESPN in Burlington, VT. Jason says he’ll be with the station through Labor Day helping to produce the afternoon show and provide on-air updates.

Two hours outside of Washington D.C. in Hopewell, Virigina, FOX Sports Radio 96.9FM/1340AM has made a roster addition. Dean Perretta is joining the station. He’s expected to serve in a reporter role.

Now for some bad news. The ESPN layoffs didn’t only impact television. ESPN Los Angeles anchor, reporter and host Jeff Biggs confirmed that after six years with the station he was let go.

iHeartmedia also made company wide cuts last week. Unfortunately they claimed two veteran sports radio hosts in the process. Matt Shepard was ousted from WDFN in Detroit, and longtime host and reporter Mike Jurecki was let go in Phoenix at FOX Sports 910. News/Talk 850 KOA also lost its Sports Director Mark Johnson.

Job cuts also made their way to Northeast Pennsylvania. Tom Ferguson announced that his time with Times Shamrock’s NEPA ESPN Radio and ALT 92.1 had come to an end. The elimination of his position was due to corporate restructuring.

Barstool Sports created an excellent spoof with Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett. In the video, Brett types up a blog and presents it to the Barstool staff for approval. After discovering barbecue sauce on the keyboard, the staff make the decision to deny Brett’s submission, which sends the former third baseman into a rage. It’s a well done bit playing off of Brett’s infamous pine tar incident during his playing days. To watch click here.

Congrats to Peter Mundo who has struck a deal between his Big 12 media outlet Heartland College Sports – Independent Big 12 Sports Blog and USA TODAY Sports. Mundo says that as part of the agreement, USA Today will have no editorial control over the site, but the partnership will help his brand expand into different platforms, along with receiving support on the advertising front, as well as accessibility to events, news and information.

ESPN has launched a new podcast.“The Basketball Analogy,” features a rotating lineup of NBA insiders, writers, reporters and hosts covering the latest news and analysis. Involved are Amin Elhassan, Brian Windhorst, Tom Haberstroh, Kevin Arnovitz, Tim MacMahon, Kevin Pelton and Cassidy Hubbarth. Rachel Nichols, Pablo Torre and Ohm Youngmisuk will also lend their voices and perspectives to the podcast. Episodes will be provided daily during the post-season and through the NBA Draft.

Turning our attention further north, SportsNet 590 The Fan has launched a new podcast. Point Taken will debut on May 10th and feature hosts Greg Brady and Caroline Cameron. The pair say they plan to conduct conversations with athletes, actors, musicians, broadcasters, and anyone they can bribe to appear.

A special thanks to everyone who’s listened to the BSM Podcast episode 12 featuring Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News and Bryan Curtis of The Ringer. The program was listed in the top 10 of sports media podcasts, which is remarkable given that the program is produced without the backing of a major company or distributor. My sincere thanks to everyone for listening, sharing, and supporting the program. Be sure to leave a review on iTunes and if there’s something you’d like to hear explored on a future episode feel free to pass along your suggestion via email.

Sports Radio News

ESPN 97.5 Host Vanessa Richardson Named New Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter

Vanessa Richardson, co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, announced that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

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Vanessa Richardson

The Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season and it’s a familiar name in Houston sports talk radio.

Vanessa Richardson, co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, announced 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.”

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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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Boomer Esiason: Michael Kay ‘Swooping In’ On Stephen Nelson ‘Just Not Right’

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

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Boomer Esiason

Much has been made about the potential of New York Yankees television play-by-play announcer Michael Kay announcing Friday Night Baseball on AppleTV+ while slugger Aaron Judge chases the franchise and American League record for home runs in a single season. During Boomer & Gio Friday morning, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti disagreed on whether Kay should have taken the gig from usual AppleTV+ announcer Stephen Nelson.

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

“I bet he put that out there to see what the reaction would be,” Giannotti said of Kay’s comments that he would be “big-footing” Nelson by taking the assignment. “And the reaction was like that, and was like ‘You know, I’m kinda uncomfortable doing this. Maybe I shouldn’t do it’. And no one wanted to see it anyway.”

“They shouldn’t do it,” said Esiason of AppleTV+ allowing Kay to step in for Nelson.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, and let’s say it was Pete Alonso chasing this record and there was AppleTV for potentially 61 or 62, you’re telling me that you’d want a fella named (Stephen) Nelson over Gary Cohen? There’s no way in hell!”, Giannotti countered.

“I want what’s right,” Esiason said.

“AppleTV’s not right to begin with,” Giannotti replied.

“But Michael Kay swooping in on some kid named Nelson, that’s not right. That’s just not right. You just can’t do that!”, argued Esiason.

“Yeah, but the fact that it’s on AppleTV to begin with is annoying,” Giannotti concluded. “It’s just annoying.”

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