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Under The Radar – June 26, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Another full week of sports radio activity for your personal enjoyment. If you have personal or station news to share or a press release or details about an upcoming promotion, please send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Before we dive into this week’s stories, a quick update on the Barrett Sports Media Podcast. A number of you have inquired if it’ll be returning. Plans are for it to return in the next few weeks. As I alluded to during my last episode with Freddie Coleman, I had a health scare in May (luckily it turned out not to be serious) and was told by doctors to reduce my workload. My first priority is to assist my clients so that meant having to scale back some of my writing and the podcasts. Now that things are back on track I’m looking forward to bringing you some fresh material. Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming guests. If you work in the industry and wish to be considered for a future appearance please email me.

Now here’s this week’s news!

The clock may be ticking on Mike Francesa‘s final run with WFAN, but he isn’t going out silently. First, he had a heated verbal exchange with Brandon Tierney after a NY Post article profiled Tierney and his lack of interest in WFAN‘s afternoon drive slot. Then he exchanged a few words with morning host Craig Carton in an article in Newsday, one which Carton’s partner Boomer Esiasion took exception to. Now the NY Post reports that Francesa got into another verbal spat, this time with PD Mark Chernoff. According to the article, Francesa blamed Chernoff for losing in the ratings to Michael Kay. Given Chernoff’s history of going to bat for Mike, that sounds like sour grapes on Francesa’s part. If more develops on this story we’ll pass it along.

Congratulations is well deserved in Tampa where John Mamola has been officially named Program Director of 620 WDAE. Mamola has been with the station since February 2011 and had served as Assistant Program Director . Former PD Doug Hamand left in January 2016. Since then, Mamola has led the station as its interim PD. It’s good to see his hard work and results get recognized.

Speaking of WDAE, congratulations to midday host Tom Krasniqi who recently celebrated his 5 year anniversary with the station. T-Kras as he’s known works opposite Ronnie “Night Train” Lane weekdays from 9a-12p ET. Click here for more details about their show.

98.5 The Sports Hub may be unsure of who its future owner is but that isn’t stopping the Boston sports radio station from tackling important business issues. The Hub has announced that it has reached a new multi-year agreement with the Boston Bruins to continue serving as the team’s radio broadcasting partner. The Bruins have aired their games on the radio station since the 2009-10 season.

Longtime Washington D.C. personality Andy Pollin is invading the podcasting space according to the Washington Post. The popular host will debut his new weekly program on Monday July 3rd. Pollin will record the show in front of a live audience at the Chatter studio, the home of Tony Kornheiser‘s podcast, and be joined on site by a big-name local sports guest. The show is expected to run between 50-70 minutes.

WIP talk show host Glen Macnow is hosting a sports movie night in Philadelphia to help raise money for the Liberty Museum’s “Young Heroes Program“. The event will feature a cast of popular local personalities including Hall of Fame writer and WIP host Ray Didinger, Eagles radio voice Merrill Reese, former Flyers left wing Brian Propp and Saint Joe’s basketball coach Phil Martelli. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by clicking here.

In Dallas, Mark Elfenbein is doing some additional hosting for ESPN 103.3. He’s sitting in for Dennis and Cowlishaw during the afternoon this week, and will also be on the station on Monday July 3rd. Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle and former Oklahoma City sports radio host Tony Casillas will work with Elfenbein on the 3rd. Dallas Mavericks play by play voice Chuck Cooperstein is in with Elfenbein this afternoon.

It took place a few weeks ago but is worth noting that 104.9 The Horn have installed a new midday show. Trey Elling and Brad Kellner have been given the reigns weekdays from 11a-1p CT. For more information on the show click here.

WBBL in Grand Rapids are hosting their annual Field of Dreams game on July 20th. The event gives 20 listeners an opportunity to play in a baseball game at Fifth Third ballpark with on-air hosts Bill Simonson and Eric Zane. 9 of those 20 listeners will gain an additional opportunity to play at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. For more details on the promotion click here.

Capitol Broadcasting in Raleigh have signed Erroll Reese and Kevin McClendon to contract extensions. The duo began hosting the program “The Sports Shop with Reese and KMac” five years ago on Buzz Sports Radio on the weekends. They then moved to middays two years ago, and just recently finished their first year in morning drive. Congrats to all involved.

In Vancouver, The Province reports that all signs point to Satiar Shah being part of the lineup at SportsNet 650. Shah had been working as a producer and on-air contributor for the Bro Jake Show on TSN 1040.

Meanwhile, Shah’s former station (TSN 1040) have added a new Vancouver Canucks reporter. Jeff Paterson has confirmed he’s joining the station and will report on the team at home and on the road.

In the writing world, Jordan Schultz has announced that he’s signed on full-time with Yahoo Sports.

Also, Ari Wasserman is exiting Cleveland.com to become the new Ohio State beat writer for The Athletic. He starts his new position on July 24th.

Sports Radio News

Fescoe in the Morning: ESPN Has a History of Ignoring Non-Partner Leagues

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

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Fescoe in the Morning

ESPN is out of the running for the Big Ten football and basketball media rights. Those will be awarded to a combination of other networks and likely a streaming service. ESPN appears to be focusing on NCAA Championships next.

Josh Klingler, co-host of Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, took time on their show on Tuesday to break down what that might mean for the Big Ten in terms of coverage.

“You’re (Big Ten) going to network television, which is better; more eyeballs and what have you,” noted Klingler. “But also, let’s not forget ESPN has a history of ignoring you when you’re not on their air. That’s the risk they are going to run.”

Klingler would add, “They are going to take the money. They are going to get network viewers, which is good. I guess the highlight and the hype and all those things that we are accustomed to doing that ESPN provides. We’ve already seen they ignore you if you’re not on their network.”

Bob Fescoe chimed in a reminder about another prominent league that chose not to partner with ESPN.

“Ask the National Hockey League what happened when they took the money from NBC and ran,” said Fescoe.

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

“Right, but I think they are willing to do that for a billion dollars per year,” Fescoe responded.

Fescoe then said that the Big Ten might make up for the perceived shortcomings of not being on ESPN by being on network television.

“If you’re going to be on network TV in all three windows, Josh, quite honestly all your marquee games are going to be free,” said Fescoe.

“That’s exposure,” said Klingler.

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Sports Radio News

NESN’s Dave O’Brien Says National Networks “Blew It” By Not Hiring Dennis Eckersley

“I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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Dennis Eckersley

On Monday, Dennis Eckersley decided to make it known that this season would be his last with NESN in the booth. He mentioned that after 50 years in baseball, it was time to go be with the grandchildren in San Diego.

His broadcast partner for a lot of those years in the NESN booth was Dave O’Brien. On the latest Sports Media Mayhem podcast, O’Brien joined show host Alex Reimer to talk about the retirement of Eckersley. Reimer pointed out that it took awhile before Eckersley became the main color analyst for the team. O’Brien remembered the time well.

“When he started, he was pre- and post- and he did that most of his career at NESN,” said O’Brien. “It was really, only the last six or seven years that he really started to get on as a game analyst.”

O’Brien was named the lead play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Red Sox coverage in 2016 which is about the same time Eckersley slid into the role of game analyst. In the time since, O’Brien has seen the work of Eckersley up close and is floored that he was working for a regional sports network and not somewhere more nationally prominent.

“I think the national people totally blew it on Dennis Eckersley,” blurted O’Brien. “And that includes Turner. They had an opportunity, I can say that because a lot of those people there now didn’t make the decision. He should have been the lead analyst doing national games. He should have been on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball or FOX. I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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Sports Radio News

Sal Paolantonio Not Interested In Trying Ayahuasca To Better Understand Aaron Rodgers

“Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately.”

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Dan Patrick is a very good interviewer. He asks the questions he knows his audience wants answered. He also makes a habit out of throwing out questions to his guests that they never see coming. That was the case on Tuesday for ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.

Paolantonio joined the Dan Patrick Show to discuss Pro Football Hall of Fame voting and the new NFL season. That is not what the host hit him with out of the gate.

The first question from Patrick to Paolantonio was “Just to relate to Aaron Rodgers, would you be willing to try ayahuasca?”.

Paolantonio was left speechless. All he could do was laugh and say “you got me on that one, Dan.”

Halucinagenics have been at the center of a lot of conversations about Aaron Rodgers lately. The Green Bay quarterback recently said on a podcast that experimenting with ayahuasca opened him up to be ready to succeed both on the field and as a leader. He credits the experience with laying the foundation for his 2021 MVP season.

Patrick pushed the issue challenging Paolantonio to beat Andrea Kremer to the experience.

“My money is on the fearless Andrea Kremer,” Paolantonio shot back.

For the record, Kremer responded to the challenge on Twitter.

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