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Under The Radar – July 10, 2017

Jason Barrett

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The middle of July may not be a hotbed for the world of sports, but the sports media industry continues to produce it’s fair share of news and notes. Here’s the latest items we have for your reading pleasure. To be included in a future column please send your personal or company’s news, press release or other relatable items to us via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

A major story to keep your eyes on moving forward is what happens with FOX Sports television and digital star Katie Nolan. The network was said to have big plans for her on television but with Jamie Horowitz now gone from FS1, it’s expected that she will jump to ESPN when her contract expires later this year. Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News addressed that issue and a few others related to FS1’s future in his latest column. To read it click here.

For all of the hits ESPN has taken in the past for controversial decisions surrounding the ESPYS, it’s only fair to give them credit when they hit an absolute homer run. That’s exactly what they’ve done this year by announcing that legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully had been selected as this year’s recipient of the Icon Award. The award will be presented by actor Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad”. The award is given out to individuals whose careers have left a lasting impression on the sports world. The ESPYS air Wednesday night at 8pm ET on ABC. Peyton Manning serves as the special guest host.

WFAN has announced its fill-in schedule this week for afternoons. Evan Roberts and Chris Christie occupy Mike Francesa’s seat Monday-Tuesday, Evan and Mike Valenti of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit work together Wednesday and Thursday, and Valenti hosts opposite Chris Simms on Friday. With Roberts sliding up for the majority of the week into afternoons Joe Beningo is joined in middays by Brian Custer, Gregg Giannotti and Kim Jones, before reuniting with Roberts for Friday’s program.

Continuing with the WFAN audition process, Bryan Curtis of The Ringer asked Francesa if Chris Christie could replace him and what challenges the New Jersey Governor would have to overcome in order to do the job successfully. To read Mike’s responses click here.

Congratulations is in order for Rick Schultz. The former Hudson Valley Renegades announcer and upstate New York radio host has been named the new Sports Director for Fordham University’s WFUV Radio. Schultz is a former student at the school and says he’s looking forward to continuing the school’s tradition of training and developing top sportscasting professionals.

If you missed it in last week’s column, BSM has a few upcoming projects that will require additional contributions from industry members. If you have a passion for sports radio, an ability to write, a good ear, and want to increase your profile in the business, send an email by clicking here.

FOX Sports 640 in Miami has rebranded as 640 The Hurricane. The station made the switch after announcing it had landed the play by play rights for Miami Hurricanes college football. Program Director Paul Mason says the station wants to present an edgier and more aggressive attitude and the name fits perfectly with that strategy and the addition of the Hurricanes. 640 also carries the New York Yankees, Florida Panthers and NFL games.

Genesis Communications has added Rock Riley to afternoons. The Tampa sports media veteran has previously hosted shows on WDAE and 98.7 The Fan. He’ll be heard weekdays 3p-6p ET on 1040 The Team in Tampa and 1080 The Team in Orlando.

107.9 The Franchise in Tulsa has struck a deal with Oral Roberts University to become the new flagship radio station for Golden Eagles Men’s basketball. Games will also be carried on 1270AM. Adam Hildebrandt will continue to call the action.

Things are trending upward for DK Sports Radio in Pittsburgh. The digital broadcast which features former Pittsburgh and Boston sports radio host Tim Benz has revealed it will add additional programming and a live stream in September. For more details click here.

92.9 ESPN in Memphis has named Bennett Doyle the Executive Producer of the Jason & John midday show. Doyle will double as the station’s Sports Director of Social Engagement and Web. He’s been with Entercom-Memphis since January 2013, serving as Promotions & Events Manager for all of the company’s local radio stations. Additionally he’s worked as a weekend and overnight personality since October 2016 on FM100 (WMC-FM).

Former WPDH-FM morning show contributor Colonel Craig Flowers has landed a weekend show on 104.9 The Horn. Flowers can be heard Saturday mornings at 9am CT.

The end of the line has been reached by ESPN New Hampshire. Absolute Broadcasting has flipped the sports station to Oldies Radio WGAM.

Sacramento hosts Rex McNeil and The Phantom (formerly of the Rise Guys) have teamed up on a new sports podcast titled #The30. The show is available on Soundcloud and can be located by clicking here.

Congratulations to Mike Ferrin who is celebrating 10 years with SiriusXM. Ferrin hosts for the satellite company on MLB Network Radio. He also is part of the Arizona Diamondbacks radio broadcast team, hosting pre and postgame shows.

Barrett Sallee has confirmed that he is joining CBS Sports to cover college football for the network. Sallee has previously contributed for Bleacher Report, FOX Sports, MLB.com, CNN and Scout.com. In addition to the new opportunity with CBS he’ll continue to host on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation channel and the SEC Smothered and Covered Podcast.

After twenty years in journalism Mark Snyder is ready for a new adventure. Snyder has announced his departure from the Detroit Free-Press. He added that the newspaper has set the standard for writing in his home state and across the country and he’ll continue to support it as a reader but he’s moving on from the sports media industry.

Sports Radio News

NEW STUDY: Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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Sports Radio News

Jonas Knox: Adrian Wojnarowski’s NBA Draft Reporting Was Desperate Ratings Ploy

“The idea that Woj is going to get duped by Orlando Magic in the draft! The first time he’s ever been duped in his career?”

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Thursday’s NBA Draft is a moment the guys waiting to hear their names called had been waiting for since the day they picked up a basketball. While his draft came decades ago in the NFL, LaVar Arrington could relate to what they were feeling.

“It’s a dream recognized,” he said on Friday’s episode of FOX Sports Radio’s 2 Pros and a Cup of Joe. “You work so hard for so long. So, when you’re sitting there waiting for them to call your name, it’s a surreal moment.”

His partner, Jonas Knox, wasn’t in such a nostalgic or celebratory mood. He had a problem with the information leading up to draft night and just how much the narrative that Auburn’s Jabari Smith would be taken by the Orlando Magic with the first pick was pushed before all the sudden, it wasn’t.

“What a bunch of crap that we are being fed by Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN, the Orlando Magic,” he said. “Whoever’s feeding it is full of crap.”

Wojnarowski tweeted an hour before the Draft that Jabari Smith was still the favorite to be taken, but he was hearing that the Magic weren’t ruling out Duke’s Paolo Banchero. 

When the first pick was announced, it was Paolo Banchero that heard his name called, not Smith. 

“One of three things happened,” Knox said. “Either ESPN is so desperate for ratings and for people to give a crap about the NBA Draft and their sport that they waited until the final hour to pump up some interest, realizing we’ve got a problem here based on some ratings and some reports on some ratings in the NBA Finals, so they waited until an hour before and had Woj drop a ‘Woj Bomb’ that it could not be Jabari Smith, that it could be Banchero who’s gonna go number one overall. It’s either that or Woj is in some kind of cahoots with the Orlando Magic.”

That is a powerful accusation. Knox finds it hard to believe the information got to ESPN’s renowned NBA Insider so late in the process.

“The idea that Woj is going to get duped by Orlando Magic in the draft! The first time he’s ever been duped in his career?”

He didn’t rule out that someone was trying to make money behind the scenes. As late as Thursday afternoon, the Duke Forward was still in plus territory to be the top pick on many sportsbooks’ odds boards. The odds had gone as high as +1600 last week.

“I call BS. I think it’s all shenanigans and I think somebody needs to get called out for it,” Knox concluded. “That pisses me off, man.”

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