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Under The Radar – July 24, 2017

Jason Barrett

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It’s starting to sound like a broken record, but another week passes, and the sports media news cycle keeps on spinning. Although this week was a little slower than the past few. A reminder, you can have your individual or company news featured in this article by forwarding any pertinent information to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now here’s the latest developments.

Vice Sports has become the latest digital brand to overhaul its writing team in favor of video content. The company is parting ways with 2% of its 3,000 employees as it becomes heavier focused on original video programming. Among the cuts were Aaron Gordon, Jorge Arrangure, and Patrick Hruby. To read more about it click here.

Adrian Wojnarowski may not have been able to raid the entire Vertical staff and take them with him to ESPN, but that doesn’t mean the network isn’t committed to adding to its NBA reporting team. Mike Schmitz and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com have agreed to join the company as NBA Draft Analysts. The Draft Express website had produced millions of readers over the past 14 years, but with their new opportunity at ESPN, Givony and Schmitz plan to produce all of their content exclusively for ESPN and its multiple platforms. Archived material will remain available on the Draft Express website.

Also heading ESPN’s direction is Nick DePaula. The former feature writer for The Vertical, and creative director and Editor-In-Chief for Sole Magazine and Nice Kicks, has signed on with the network to provide additional coverage on hoops and athlete’s footwear.

Darius Rucker has decided that calling into sports talk shows isn’t enough. The county music star has reached an agreement with SiriusXM to host a new golf show on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. The show will be titled “On Par with Darius Rucker” and it’s slated to debut Wednesday July 26th. The show will air monthly once its officially launched.

Congratulations to SportsNet 590 The Fan program director Dave Cadeau who has been elevated by Rogers Media to National Format Director. In addition to continuing to program the Toronto sports radio station, Cadeau will assist other sports radio properties under the Rogers umbrella.

Longtime Nashville sports talk show host George Plaster is returning to the local airwaves. A new program is being developed and will air on Classic Country WSM-AM. The show won’t interfere with Plaster’s position of Associate Director of Athletics at Belmont University. Plaster previously hosted on 102.5 The Game.

WQAM’s Ant Calatayud is bound for Bristol. The Miami radio producer is moving to Connecticut in August to join ESPN where he’s expected to contribute to the network’s Podcenter team.

Atlanta sports radio station 680 The Fan gave former Bills and Falcons wide receiver Peerless Price an opportunity to host last week. Price stepped in alongside fellow former wideout Brian Finneran and radio host/anchor Sandra Golden. Lead host Steak Shapiro had time off.

iHeartmedia has taken the plunge into the sports format in Tucson, Arizona. The company has launched FOX Sports 1450 featuring FOX Sports Radio network programming. The station also is the local home for Tucson Roadrunners minor league hockey.

The Baltimore Ravens have announced a new nine-part podcast series which will dive into the lives of the Harbaugh family. Man of the Crowd is hosted by Sarah Ellison and features more than 25 interviews with family members, friends, co-workers and reporters, offering fans a better understanding of what makes the Harbaugh family tick. For more information click here.

While some in the media begin to write obituaries for written content, others are taking advantage of the opportunity to add talented writers to their websites. The Athletic are the latest to do so. After previously hiring Tim Kawakami and Marcus Thompson to spearhead their Bay Area coverage, Kawakami revealed that Phil Taylor, John Middlekauff, Dieter Kurtenbach, Danny Leroux and Bay Area Sports Guy have been added as contributors.

Former Sports Illustrated writer Greg Bedard is also taking a more prominent role in overseeing a digital brand. Bedard has launched BostonSportsJournal.com, which includes Sean McAdam, Christopher Price, and Brian Robb and focuses primarily on the Boston sports scene. The website’s model replicates what Dejan Kovacevic installed in Pittsburgh with DKPittsburghsports.com. Kovacevic’s brand has amassed over 38,000 subscribers while adding strong corporate advertising support. Bedard is hoping to accomplish the same with his new digital venture.

Sticking in the San Francisco area, NBC Sports Bay Area recently launched a new show, Giants Outsiders, featuring Grant Brisbee and Therese Vinal. The show is thirty minutes in length and offers viewers an entertaining and fresh take on Giants games with an emphasis on viewer interaction via Twitter and Facebook. The show is also synced with Facebook Live to produce a unique interactive experience.

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, according to sources.

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

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now. He was tweeting during his show’s scheduled time, with this being his most recent one which also referenced the show which appeared to still be on the air at the time.

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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