Sports Radio News
Under The Radar – August 21, 2017
BSM is Los Angeles bound for the week for the Podcast Movement Conference and to visit a few familiar sports media industry faces. If you have news to share on behalf of yourself or your organization and wish to be included in an upcoming edition of UTR, please send it along via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
Now onto this week’s industry developments.
BSM is pleased to announce the addition of four sports media members to our writing team. FOX Sports Radio host Brian Noe, 610 Sports General Sales Manager Dave Greene, former KHTK Program Director and 104.3 The Fan Assistant Program Director Kevin Sherrets, and former 620 The Buzz executive producer and SB Nation Radio fill-in host Demetri Ravanos will all be providing content for the website in the future. BSM still has a few openings so if interested in writing about sports media, send an email along with a writing sample by email by clicking here.
Congratulations to Gregg Henson. After being the victim of a budget cut in Pittsburgh, while performing a dual role as program director of ESPN Pittsburgh and co-host of Jim, Droo and Gregg for iHeart Detroit and Grand Rapids, the veteran host and programmer has landed a new opportunity. Henson has relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska where he’s joined Alpha Media as program director and morning host. Henson began his new assignment last Monday. Be sure to keep an eye out this week for his review of 5 Podcasts in 5 Days on SportsRadioPD.com.
This year’s NAB radio conference in Austin, Texas will include a special appearance by WEEI morning host Kirk Minihane. One of the most successful local sports radio hosts with a popular podcast that has outperformed industry standards, Minihane will take part in a panel titled “Radio’s New Strategies and New Platforms” with Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs and Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein. A live performance by songwriter and recording artist Robert Earl Keen is also planned for the session. For more information click here.
It looks like John Kincade will be staying a little longer in Atlanta. The 680 The Fan talk show host has confirmed he’s signed a new contract with the radio station to remain partners with longtime running mate Buck Belue. Buck and Kincade have been together for 17 years, and are on the verge of celebrating 4,000 shows together. Truly a remarkable feat.
Another congratulations is in order for ESPN Radio‘s Pete Gianesini who recently celebrated 20 years with the company. Gianesini has climbed the ladder to become a trusted part of the network’s management team, having made a positive impact on the careers of many who have worked under him. He currently serves as ESPN Audio’s Senior Director of Digital Programming.
WDAE in Tampa won’t be sticking around for the end of Mike and Mike and the start of Trey Wingo and Mike Golic. Instead, the station plans to introduce a brand new local morning show starting Monday August 28th. Details on the station’s new team will be available soon.
After 18 months writing and reporting on the Bay Area sports scene, Kevin Jones‘ time at KNBR has come to an end. Jones joined the radio station in February 2016 after working for the Cleveland Browns, Pro Football Focus, Sports Illustrated’s The Cauldron and radio stations 91.3 WZMB in Greenville, NC and WUSA-9 in Washington D.C. He’s looking for his next opportunity and can be reached by clicking here.
Elsewhere in the Bay Area, it’s good to see Mychael Urban getting more involved in sports media work again. Urbs as he’s known to Bay Area sports fans has been filling in on 95.7 The Game and working on a writing project for The Athletic SF.
SiriusXM is bringing in the ole ball coach. College Football Hall of Fame coach and quarterback Steve Spurrier has signed on to contribute three times per week on the College Sports National channel. He’s expected to chat on Tuesdays with Chris Childers and Rick Neuheisel, Wednesdays with Mark Packer, and Thursdays with Greg McElroy and Taylor Zarzour.
Speaking of satellite radio, it didn’t take long for Mitch Moss and Paul Howard to rise up the ranks at VSIN, the Brent Musburger fronted sports handicapping network which is carried on SiriusXM. Moss and Howard’s show, Follow The Money, which began in April in middays is moving to morning drive starting Monday August 28th. For more information on the show/network click here.
1500 ESPN in Minneapolis took advantage of the power of national celebrities to create a successful event for their audience. The radio station welcomed Mike Golic and Mike Golic Jr. to town for their first ever Fantasy Football Convention. Over 400 people attended the event which included a Q&A with the Golic’s, giveaways of Super Bowl tickets, Vikings tickets, 65′ TCL Roku TV, Mystic cash and 300 RotoWire Fantasy FB magazine giveaways. Minneapolis for a station event. To read about the promotion click here. For photos click here.
Former 670 The Score host and update anchor Matt Abbatacola has landed work outside of the radio industry. The former Chicago sports personality has been named Director of Sales and Marketing at The Health Guardian.
Congratulations to Denver sports media personalities Nate Lundy, Brad Evans and Lauren Gardner. After launching The Fantasy Football Hour television show last year with Brad Evans and Lauren Gardner on regional channel Altitude TV, the program will be extending its reach for the 2017 season. Lundy reports that the show will be carried by MSG in New York and on several FOX Sports regional outlets. The show will have the ability to reach roughly 70 million homes this football season.
T.J. Weber is returning to his alma mater, Lindenwood University, to become the school’s new play by play voice for football and men’s basketball. Weber previously called games for SIUE and the Gateway Grizzlies.
A tip of the cap goes out to 680 The Fan host Steak Shapiro who recently had his Atlanta Eats television show picked up and extended to seven days per week on Peachtree TV in the Atlanta market.
A former ESPNer is reuniting with Bill Simmons. Justin Verrier has joined The Ringer as senior editor of the website’s NBA section.
Bay Area sports writer Courtney Cronin has left the Bay Area News Group to join ESPN covering the Minnesota Vikings for its NFL Nation section. Cronin says she’ll be relocating to Minneapolis soon.
Morgan Beard is returning to Baton Rouge. The sports anchor and reporter has been added at WVLA Local 33 to cover LSU, the New Orleans Saints and other local sports stories.
Another reunion is taking place in Spokane, Washington. Alyssa Charlston is on her way back to work for KXLY-Channel 4 as a sports anchor and reporter.
Paloma Villicana has been hired as a sports anchor and reporter for WOAY-TV.
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.”