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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – July 17, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Is there ever a week where the sports media industry isn’t busy? I keep waiting for one of these periods to emerge where the activity isn’t strong enough to produce a full column yet even on slow weeks, but there’s always something.

Although I’m sure you know the drill by now, I have to be a broken record because new people are also finding the column. If you’d like to have your personal or company news shared with the sports media industry in this article, please pass it along via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now here are this week’s stories.

Many have inquired about the status of the BSM Podcast. After producing 14 episodes, enough to complete a first full season, a short break was necessary. BSM is happy to report that a new episode will be coming out in the next few days. The first installment of Season 2 is a good one. It features an in-depth conversation with Houston and New Orleans sports radio host Josh Innes. To listen to past episodes click here.

The New York Daily News reported something pretty interested this past weekend. According to Bob Raissman, Clay Travis was offered his own show on FOX Sports 1 by former executive Jamie Horowitz. Except there was one condition – Travis could not discuss politics on television, radio or social media. By taking the job Travis would’ve further elevated his profile and made a ton of money but he declined the offer, choosing instead to stay true to his principles. To read the full article click here.

Although Travis may not be adding a heavy presence on FS1‘s airwaves, the network is scouting others who they feel can enhance their on-air programming. According to Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News, FS1 recently brought in “Today” correspondent and anchor Jenna Wolfe for an audition for their upcoming morning show First Things First which features Nick Wright and Cris Carter. The audition reportedly went well, leading the network to open up discussions with Wolfe and her representatives.

Congratulations is in store for Ryan Ruocco. The ESPN and YES Network play by play announcer and former 98.7FM ESPN NY radio host began hosting a podcast for The Players Tribune with New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia. The debut episode features a special appearance by Derek Jeter, and it has quickly shot up the iTunes charts. To take a listen click here.

Meanwhile, one of Ruocco’s former on-air partners, Robin Lundberg, is also in the news. The former ESPN Radio and 98.7FM ESPN New York host stepped in this past Saturday for a few hours on the airwaves of WFAN. Rumors have been circulating about Lundberg being on The Fan’s radar to host a lead-in show to Boomer and Carton, but nothing official has been announced just yet.

Another talented radio personality is diving head first into the podcasting space. Former Houston radio host and current NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein has launched his Off The Script podcast. Zierlein teased an upcoming episode featuring himself and former Astros Lance Berkman and Lance McCullers. He also spoke recently to CultureMap about his decision to leave radio. You can read the interview by clicking here.

A role change could be on the horizon for St. Louis sports radio host and executive Tim McKernan. The 590 The Fan KFNS morning man struck a deal last year with station owner Randy Markel to oversee operations as President and CEO, with the idea being to eventually assume ownership once Markel recouped his investment. However, Markel has been more involved than expected. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Markel has started talks with McKernan about restructuring his deal and eliminating his ownership stake and CEO and President duties.

Checkpoint Radio continues to gain momentum. The esports show which is hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard and Joe Sloan has added 101 ESPN in St. Louis and 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia as affiliates. For more information on the show click here.

Unfortunate news out of Boston. Christian Arcand announced on social media that he was laid off by Boston Herald Radio. Arcand is however still hosting WEEI Late Night on the Boston sports radio station.

The news is similar in San Francisco for on-air personality Zakariah. The evening and Athletics Pre/Post game host has been let go by 95.7 The Game. To reach him and discuss future opportunities click here.

Surprising news out of Texas. Rod Babers, who had co-hosted The Sports Buffet on Ticket 760 in San Antonio and AM 1300 The Zone in Austin is no longer active on each stations. Babers and Craig Way had formed a strong team in afternoons but Way left in January to join Austin sports station 104.9 The Horn. With Babers gone, The Ticket afternoon show is being hosted by Chris Duel. AM 1300 has begun airing The Doug Gottlieb Show from FOX Sports Radio.

In Salt Lake City, ESPN 700 (KALL-AM) and the University of Utah and its media rights holder Learfield Utes Sports have extended their broadcast agreement through the 2021-2022 season. The radio station has served as the University’s radio partner for an impressive sixty six years.

The University of Alabama has struck a new deal with Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa. The new agreement is a seven year extension for games to continue airing on Tide 102.9, gospel station Praise 93.3, and country stations 95.3 The Bear and Catfish 1230AM and 100.1FM.

Another play by play agreement has been extended in Bloomington, Illinois. Cumulus Media has signed a new five year deal with Illinois State Athletics and Learfield Redbird Sports Properties. The agreement calls for AM 1230 and 93.7 NASH to continue serving as the flagship stations for Redbird football and men’s basketball.

SportsRadio 850 in Norfolk has expanded its morning show from one hour to two starting Monday July 17th. As a result, Nick Bailey gains an extra sixty minutes to inform and entertain local fans.

Former CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason, who contributes as an analyst for the Horse Racing Radio Network, recently wrote a series on how to break into the horse racing industry. Some of the suggestions he passed along can also transfer to the broadcasting business. To read his latest piece, the fourth part of a five part series, click here.

Sticking with horse racing broadcasting news, the New York Racing Association has added a four-time All-Star to their lineup. Former major league catcher Paul Lo Duca has agreed to become part of the “Saratoga Live” crew. The analytical show runs daily during the 40-day meet for two or two-and-a-half hours and is available on the MSG+ network. Lo Duca will work with Greg Wolf, Andy Serling, Maggie Wolfendale, Tom Amoss and Gabby Gaudet. He’s also expected to contribute on select NYRA broadcasts this the fall when racing returns to Belmont Park.

Congratulations to Dov Kramer of WFAN. The radio station’s executive producer recently celebrated his 30-year anniversary with the radio station.

Washington D.C. radio host Nick Ashooh has launched a website which features audio, video and written pieces. To learn more about it click here.

Many in the sports media business remain curious about the long term prospects of The Athletic. The new digital brand which is reliant on subscriptions has been stacking their talent pool by adding established writers. Stewart Mandel, formerly of FOX Sports and Sports Illustrated, previously announced he’d signed on to write for the website. Now this week, San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami has revealed he too would be joining the platform. Seth Davis, formerly of Sports Illustrated, is also expected to write for the site. For more details click here.

According to The Big Lead, after a company sale and losing its biggest sports asset Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports appears to be ready to add new blood to its sports department. TBL says Pete Thamel is leaving Sports Illustrated to join Yahoo. Thamel covered college football for SI and also worked previously for the New York Times.

Also in the print world, Brian Christopherson has announced that he’s leaving the Lincoln Journal Star after 13 years. Ten of those years involved covering Huskers football. Christopher says he will remain involved covering the Huskers except he’ll be doing so now for 247Sports and Scout Media.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed 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.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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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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