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Los Angeles Chargers Announce Radio Plans

Jason Barrett

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When the 2017 NFL season begins, the Chargers will call a new city home for the first time since 1961. As they begin the next chapter of their franchise’s history, they’re preparing to build it with a brand new radio announcer.

The team has announced that Josh Lewin, who had called the team’s games for the past 12 seasons is being replaced by Matt “Money” Smith. Lewin confirmed his departure via Twitter adding “The Chargers have decided they want a full time LA announcer so a wonderful run ends today. I’ll happily continue with the Mets and UCLA and will cherish my memories of serving Chargers fans the last 12 years. Thank you for everything Bolts fans, you’re the best!”

Smith is a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles radio market, and hosts weekday afternoons with Petros Papadakis on AM570 LA Sports. In addition to hosting afternoons, he’s also built an impressive play-by-play resume. He’s spent the past seven years calling NFL and college games for Compass Media, and has called television games for the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports.

Smith will be accompanied in the booth by former Chargers center Nick Hardwick. Hardwick is one half of the morning show for XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego, the team’s former flagship radio station. Initially he was critical of the team’s decision to turn its back on San Diego and bolt for Los Angeles, but as they say, time heals all wounds.

“I’d never been broken up with and I was emotional,” Hardwick told ESPN.com. “And when I get emotional, I get angry and let my emotions come out. And they were authentic, genuine and in the moment.

“All of the anger was immediately directed at the Spanos family and the Chargers organization, but my emotions around that completely subsided and I’m glad to be back in the family. I’m glad to be back with a group that gave me my opportunity, gave me my life and stuck with me through bad times and bad injuries. They’ve done nothing but support me in my career.

“I care for this team. I literally broke my neck for this organization. I played 11 years for the franchise, was a team captain for five years and I want the best for them.”

But while Hardwick may have good intentions and personal reasons for reconnecting with the franchise, he understands that it may ruffle feathers of those who continue to call San Diego home and remain bitter about the team leaving the city.

“I don’t feel like in any way this is a slight to San Diegans who are little bit like Trump supporters,” said Hardwick. “They’re leaning into each other and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to follow this Chargers team.’ And then they keep it quiet, because the people who are mad are mad, and you don’t want to come out against those folks. So am I going to get backlash? Sure, 100 percent. I completely expect it, and I’m cool with it. For me, it’s not their life, it’s mine. And I have to follow my own passions and be honest with myself. I’m a football guy.”

The Chargers will air their games on radio in the Los Angeles market on KFI AM-640. They currently have no radio agreement to air games in San Diego. The team also says that Spero Dedes and Hall of Fame Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts will call the team’s three-game preseason schedule on ABC7 Los Angeles.

Sports Radio News

Chick Hearn Headlines Radio Hall of Fame Legends Inductees

Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.

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Chick Hearn

The Museum of Broadcast Communications announced today the selection of 10 new Legends inductees into the Radio Hall of Fame for 2022. This distinction honors those in the industry who have contributed greatly to it and have since passed away.

Chick Hearn, the longtime voice of the Los Angeles Lakers, will be amongst those inducted in Chicago next month. Hearn was the voice of the Lakers for 41 years (1961-2002). Amongst other accolades, he is credited with broadcast 3,338 consecutive Lakers game from November 21, 1965 to December 16, 2001.  

The full list of those to be inducted as part of the Legends class are:

  • MrDoug Banks– Nationally syndicated on-air personality;
  • MrJames Brown– Legendary singer, to be inducted as a radio station owner of WJBE Knoxville, TN;
  • MrBob Coburn– Host of the syndicated Rockline show;
  • Mr. Chick Hearn– Play-by-play announcer/voice of the Los Angeles Lakers;
  • MsBernice Judis– Owner and General Manager, WNEW-AM, 1930’s–1950’s;
  • MrSid Mark– Host of syndicated program, Sounds of Sinatra show for 60+ years;
  • Mr. Bobby O’Jay– On-air personality, WDIA-AM/Memphis;
  • MrPervis Spann– On-air personality, WVON-AM/Chicago;
  • Mr. James Thompson– Group W Broadcasting President and President of the Broadcasters Foundation;
  • Ms. Rosalie Trombley– Music Director of CKLW-AM/Detroit in the 1960’s–1970’s.

“The Radio Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the individuals who have made the greatest impact on our 100+ year old industry,” Kraig T. Kitchin, Co-Chairman, Radio Hall of Fame said. “I’m thrilled to see the Nominating Committee confirm the induction of these 10 individuals who each made such an impact on our industry in their time.”    

The Radio Hall of Fame will recognize its 2022 class of inductees, including the class announced in July, during a ceremony on Tuesday, November 1st.

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Sports Radio News

Tobin and Leroy Debut on WQAM Middays

“This is a big change for us,” Tobin said. “I’ve been doing morning drive, producing or hosting now, for the last decade. Now it’s to middays we go.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Tobin and Leroy

After a brief hiatus and the closure of 790 The Ticket, Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard officially returned to the Miami airwaves on Monday on 560 WQAM.

Tobin and Leroy debuted in its new midday timeslot of 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the station.

“This is a big change for us,” Tobin said. “I’ve been doing morning drive, producing or hosting now, for the last decade. Now it’s to middays we go.”

Tobin added that the timing between when they made their exit from The Ticket and returned on WQAM was a bit off.

“It was a very weird week for us to take off last week. Because they were like, ‘Hey, you’re change times, you’re gonna change stations, and also it’s gonna be the busiest sports week of the year,'” he said. “So now we’re back, and nothing will happen this week.”

“There has been less action on days we thought we had to be here than what happened last week,” Hoard added.

Hoard actually arrived to the show late, citing traffic issues getting to the station. That was something even Tobin noted is an adjustment they have to make from when they were doing morning drive.

“We’ve all discovered here today is traffic is not the same at 8 a.m. as it is at 4 a.m.,” he said. “Very different.”

Tobin made sure WQAM listeners knew that even though they switched stations, the show isn’t changing. They continued with all the usual segments that fans know and love on Monday.

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Sports Radio News

Mike Rhyner Introduces Dallas to 97.1 The Freak

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

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Ben Torres / Special Contributor Dallas Morning News

There’s a new radio station in Dallas which features a number of personalities familiar to local sports radio listeners. 97.1 The Freak made its much anticipated debut and the first voice to be heard belonged to the ”Old Grey Wolf” Mike Rhyner.

97.1 The Eagle stopped regular programming late Monday morning and began stunting, a technique radio stations use to separate listeners from old programming and prepare them for new content. The station began by playing songs with the word “freak” in them before transitioning into a continuous loop of “The Waiting is the Hardest Part” by Tom Petty until 3p CT. Then, a voiceover detailing the Eagle’s history switched into the voice that Dallas-Forth Worth residents have gotten to know so well, Mike Rhyner.

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

Rhyner went on to relive his final moments at The Ticket in Dallas. He said he was getting his “head around being a Paw Paw” before getting a call from Ben Rogers of the Ben and Skin Show and thus an idea for The Freak began to take shape.

After that, the show’s intro music played and Rhyner welcomed in Mike Sirois and before you knew it, the guys were wondering about a quarterback controversy in Dallas.

97.1 The Freak is off and running with a lineup that includes “The Speakeasy,” with Jeff Cavanaugh, Kevin “KT’ Turner, Julie Dobbs, and Matt Cather in mornings (7-11am), “Ben & Skin Show” in middays (11am-3pm) and “The Downbeat” in afternoons (3p-7p) featuring Mike Rhyner alongside Mike Sirois and Michael “Grubes” Gruber.

The station is positioning itself as a lifestyle brand but given its talent connection to local sports radio and the strong interest in Dallas sports, it’s likely the talent will weave sports talk into their on-air discussions. Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket and 105.3 The Fan have enjoyed good ratings with the male 25-54 demographic and The Freak is expected to challenge them and every other brand that produces spoken word content.

“We’re beyond excited to introduce 97-1 the Freak – the level of talent is insurmountable, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to further connect with Dallas Fort Worth,” Patrick Davis, Regional Senior Vice President of Programming Dallas, shared in an announcement.

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