Sports Radio News
Under The Radar – July 31, 2017
The MLB Trade Deadline took place Monday, and as expected, a flurry of activity unfolded. However, the moves paled in comparison to the past week’s sports media developments. A reminder, if you’d like to have your individual or company’s news shared in this column in the future, please send any important details to us via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
Now on to the news we go!
Great news for Mad Dog Sports Radio morning hosts Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik. The Morning Men have been tabbed by the Dan Patrick Show to fill in this Wednesday and Thursday. Cohen and Babchik will air on television on The Audience Network and NBC Sports Network. The only question is how many viewers will have the strength to hold down their breakfast after being visually exposed to a topless Babchik?
Changes are taking place in San Francisco. KNBR has parted ways with 680 evening host and update anchor Ray Woodson and cancelled the local 1050 programs, The Audible and The Ted Ramey Show. Woodson had been with KNBR for the past twenty years. He was recently hosting evenings when local play by play didn’t air on 680’s airwaves. On 1050, midday host Ted Ramey lost his daily talk show, but will continue to be heard on the radio station as the voice of the San Jose Earthquakes. Morning co-host Rudy Ortiz was also let go as part of the changes.
ESPN Radio is making a smart move tapping into their affiliates to feature some of their outstanding talent, while strengthening their relationships with local operators in the process. Case in point, 97.1 The Fan in Columbus weekday host and former Ohio State and NFL Linebacker, Bobby Carpenter, has been summoned by the network to join Dave Rothenberg and Eric Karabell on ESPN Radio’s Fantasy Focus football show. The program debuts when the NFL season begins.
Speaking of fantasy football, Nate Lundy announced on social media that the Fantasy Football Hour program he works on for Altitude Sports has received some great news. The show expects to expand into additional major markets. Lundy says further details will be provided soon.
Kirk Minihane of WEEI in Boston sat down with former program director Jason Wolfe for a fascinating conversation on his Enough About Me podcast. The first part of the interview reflects on Wolfe’s early years at WEEI and a number of key decisions that took place on his watch. The second part of the interview will be released soon. To hear Part 1 click here.
After adding Mike Jurecki last month to strengthen its midday show, 98.7FM Arizona’s Sports Station has made another move to increase their local offerings during evening hours. The radio station has added The Rundown with Luke Lapinski. The show is said to be opinion driven, fast paced, and offer a complete look at the biggest sports stories of the day. Phoenix sports fans can catch the program on non-local play-by-play game nights at 6pm MT.
That isn’t the only news that 98.7FM Arizona’s Sports Station has to share. A special congratulations is in order for Rod Lakin. After contributing in a variety of roles over the span of 11 years, Lakin has been promoted from Executive Producer to Assistant Program Director. In his new role, Lakin will take on additional duties including working closer with the digital content team and being further involved in the brand’s overall growth strategy.
Exciting news for 810 WHB in Kansas City. After 610 Sports announced last week it had been forced to part ways with the University of Kansas, the school wasted no time in announcing a new five-year deal with 610’s top competitor. The Union Broadcasting station will take over as the broadcast partner of the Jayhawks, airing both football and men’s basketball, as well as coaches shows on the radio station. For additional information click here.
Elsewhere on the college circuit, the Nevada Wolf Pack have found their next voice for football and men’s basketball. John Ramey has accepted the position and fills the void left behind by Ryan Radtke who joined Westwood One to call national games.
Staying in Nevada, ESPN Las Vegas 1100/100.9FM have hired a new producer. Chrissy Paradis is on her way to Sin City to contribute to the station’s weekday programs. Paradis previously produced Rob Dibble’s show in Hartford.
After announcing in May that they had reached an agreement to move football and men’s basketball broadcasts to 1280 and 97.5FM The Zone, Utah State and Learfield Communications have revealed that VP of radio operations and weekday sports talk show host Scott Garrard will serve as the school’s new play-by-play announcer for both football and men’s basketball. Former Utah State Offensive Tackle Kevin Whimpey will provide color commentary on football broadcasts. The school says an announcement will be made at a later time regarding the men’s basketball color analyst.
After ten seasons calling Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs baseball, Jon Schaeffer is heading west. The play-by-play announcer shared that he is joining XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego. Schaeffer will produce the midday program hosted by Mark Willard and Rich Ohrnberger.
Tim Donnelly has received an opportunity to advance his career. The former Delaware quarterback turned Nebraska sports director and host, has agreed to join ESPN Ithaca where he’ll contribute in a variety of ways including as a weekday talk show host. Donnelly is expected to start his new job in a few weeks.
WGR Buffalo Bills beat/sideline reporter Sal Capaccio has created a new podcast titled SalSports…and Stuff. Capaccio says the podcast will feature guests from a number of different backgrounds and he hopes to feature a number of interesting stories for the benefit of the audience.
Congratulations to Danielle McCartan. The high school teacher and sports blogger earned an hour of air time last week to host on WFAN in New York. McCartan hosted the 3a-4a ET hour of the Thursday overnight shift.
95.7 The Game in San Francisco is adding to its bench. The radio station has brought in Jason Page to work part-time shifts.
Brian Custer is in great spirits after securing a new deal with FOX Sports to provide play-by-play this season for college football games. Custer will team with former NFL Linebacker Ben Leber to call a combination of Big 10, Big 12, and Pac-12 games.
The Athletic continues to add talented writers to its numerous local platforms. This week Seth Davis‘ new college basketball platform The Field House added Sam Vecenie. The Athletic CFB brought in Max Olson, and The Athletic Cleveland welcomed Aaron Portzline. The Athletic Chicago though informed Sam Highkin that his contract will not be renewed this September.
Last but not least, Michael Phillips has been named the new sports editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports Radio News
Jay Williams Calls Listener, Forces Him To Pay Their $1000 Lakers Bet
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
If you owe Jay Williams money, he is going to find you. Just ask Rob, a listener in Orlando who bet the ESPN Radio morning man that the Lakers would advance to the NBA Finals.
Last week, Rob called Keyshawn, JWill and Max and bet Williams $1000 the Lakers would eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Williams said if that happened, he would pay Rob $1500.
Obviously, that is not the way things played out. On Tuesday morning, Jay Williams called Rob demanding payment.
“He owes me my money,” he said. “So you know what we do? We got Detective Pat on the call today. Pat, let’s give this man a call. See if this guy picks up, trying to run away from giving me my money.”
The show’s associate producer Patrick Costello called the number Rob left last week. On the first attempt, the listener did not pick up. Williams vowed to keep up the pressure on social media and national radio and television until he got paid.
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
“You know, getting that money is a wrap, Jay,” Keyshawn Johnson said through laughter. “I told you that.”
The show made one more attempt to connect with Rob before having to turn things over to Greeny. This time, the Lakers fan picked up and acknowledged that he had to pay. He offered to make a donation in Williams’s name.
“I’ll send you my bank account here privately, and then I will send it to the charity of my choice,” Williams agreed.
Rob agreed to the arrangement. Williams asked him if he wanted to apologize for doubting the basketball analyst’s prediction of the Lakers’ demise.
“Apologize? I need the Lakers to apologize to me after that performance,” Rob said. “Because Jesus Christ, that was horrible. That was bad.”
Sports Radio News
Stoney & Jansen on LeBron James Retirement Talk: ‘NBA Needs Offseason Stories’
“I think we pick and choose with him. I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
As the Los Angeles Lakers exited the court after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, a grim reality set in across the basketball world regarding the future of forward LeBron James. Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up, James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, a 19-time All Star selection, four-time MVP, and four-time NBA champion.
During his postgame media availability on Monday, he stated that he had to seriously think about his future, undoubtedly referencing retirement. James just completed his 20th season in the Association and continues to play at a high level, but is going to think about walking away from the game after falling short of the NBA Finals this year.
“He’s been a pretty good soldier for the game,” said Tom Milikan, morning show producer and assistant program director at 97.1 The Ticket. “There’s been some things I haven’t agreed with him [on] that he’s liked or tweeted or whatever. I think he’s had some ignorance, but I think that applies to every single athlete out there that’s great.”
Throughout his NBA career, James has been the subject of criticism. The ESPN special he participated in titled The Decision saw him reveal he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. He is also a frequent subject across the network’s programming, including on Get Up, First Take and NBA Today.
“I think we pick and choose with him,” Millikan said. “I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
Show co-host Mike Stone read messages from the 97.1 The Ticket text line during the show, many of which criticized James for being a “flopping” player desperate for any semblance of attention since he will not be in the NBA Finals. One text suggested his revelation of weighing retirement was done intentionally, surmising that he has a film documentary crew around him and coming back stronger than ever would make for a great story.
“The league needs some offseason stories,” Millikan said. “From what I know, the free agency class is not all that great this year – and one of the big names is Kyrie Irving, and that’s toxic. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, maybe they’re generating buzz or trying to do the whole Brady thing.’ So be it – I’ve seen it 15 times in my life.”
Stone recognized that athletes like James are genuinely once-in-a-generation type talents, and that his time in the NBA has been defined by more than what he has done on the court. James has also been an immense advocate for greater causes, including social issues, youth education and community affairs. Whenever he decides to call it a career though, fans should rest assured that James has truly given the game everything he has.
“I want to see the best that they have for as long as possible,” show co-host Jon Jansen said of star athletes. “If they end up playing too long, so be it. I don’t care. Then I know I’ve [seen] it all.”
Sports Radio News
Danny Parkins: NFL Teams ‘Don’t Really Care About Your In-Stadium Experience’
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it.”
On Monday at the NFL Owners’ Meetings, flex scheduling for Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football was approved 24-8. Games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17 with 28 days notice required. Additionally, a maximum of two games can be flexed per season, with the entire operation being on “a trial basis.”
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it,” said Danny Parkins on 670 The Score as the news broke Monday. “[The] first rule already happened, and the Bears are one of the teams that either benefit or are victimized by the rule depending on your interpretation. You can play on multiple Thursdays this year. You can’t play multiple road Thursdays, but the Bears have two Thursday night games – in Washington and home against Carolina.”
In an effort to broadcast compelling action on a national stage, the National Football League did not give all of its 32 teams at least one game on national television this season. Conversely, the New York Jets, complete with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be featured on national television for the maximum of six times, including two matchups on Thursday Night Football. The Jets, along with the Chicago Bears, dissented from voting in favor of flexible scheduling, but Parkins assumes it has nothing to do with the fans.
“My guess is [it is] because they already have two Thursday night games,” Parkins said. “Maybe they’re just altruistic and they care about fans and travel and all that, but I bet you that they said, ‘Well, we’re playing in Week 5 in Washington and Week 10 at home against Carolina. We don’t want to risk Bears-Browns or Bears-Falcons being flexed into Thursday Night Football later in the season and end up with three Thursday night games.’”
Many football fans and media professionals have pushed back on granting the property any type of flex scheduling because of the negative impact it has on injury prevention, something that is not as pronounced with other properties solely because of the day of the week. Sunday Night Football on NBC was previously the only property with flex scheduling ability, and Monday Night Football on ESPN is being granted that ability between Weeks 12 and 17 with at least 12 days notice.
“They don’t really care about your in-stadium experience – they don’t,” Parkins said of the league. “As long as you watch on TV, they’re thrilled because that’s where they make a huge, ungodly percentage of their money – more so than any of the other sports.”