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Under The Radar – September 18, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Under The Radar returns with another jammed pack week of sports media news. As usual, if you have individual or company news to pass along, send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s this week’s activity.

Last week’s chaos involving ESPN personality Jemele Hill has opened the floodgates to various individuals and brands defending and attacking the worldwide leader in sports. But one piece in particular stood out. Whether you agree or disagree with the notion that the sports media has shifted to the left, this presentation by John Locke Foundation Senior Vice President Jon Pritchett and Duke University professor Ed Tiryakian is very interesting. To watch it click here.

With many inside the radio industry excited, concerned and curious about the upcoming merger between CBS Radio and Entercom, one question has been how attractive the news is to stock holders. The early returns were favorable but enthusiasm has since faded. CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer addressed the situation and delivered an excellent analysis on why he feels Entercom is a wise investment. To see the segment click here.

Noise was made in Houston this week when the Texans revoked the credentials of Sports Talk 790 host Josh Innes and his producer Jim Mudd. The team was upset after Mudd reported live from practice, sharing formations and plays being used, and announcing which players were involved in team drills. Innes told the Houston Chronicle the Texans acted “randomly and arbitrarily” and that he wasn’t aware of their media policies. He cited the club’s August 22nd practice where fans were allowed to shoot audio and video from the stands as an example of confusion. “We were providing entertainment for our audience. We were trying to give information. Were people amused by it? Yes. My objective is to make people laugh, have a good show, don’t take ourselves seriously.”

97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia has stabilized its midday show. The station has promoted afternoon producer Jason Myrtetus to co-host alongside Harry Mayes. Myrtetus spent 4+ years working on Mike Missanelli’s show and says he’s excited for a new chapter in his radio career.

Speaking of additions, Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver has confirmed the hiring of Alex Auld as co-host of “Canucks Central.” Auld joins Satiar Shah weekdays from 12p-1p PT.

101 ESPN in St. Louis is doing something really cool to cover high school football. The radio station has teamed up with Silverback to deliver the high school game of the week via its website and Facebook. The production quality is fantastic and looks like a television broadcast being offered on the station’s digital and social platforms. Brad Barnes and Andrew Rogers call the action. To catch a glimpse click here. The broadcast starts about nine minutes in.

Congratulations is in order for Portland Trail Blazers radio play by play man Brian Wheeler. The veteran voice of the team has inked a new multi-year contract extension to continue calling Blazers basketball. Per company policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Larry Andersen has worked the past 47 summers in baseball. In 2018 that will change. The Philadelphia Phillies color analyst has announced he will decrease his schedule next season on radio broadcasts. The team hasn’t determined yet who will step in when Andersen isn’t working. The former major league reliever says he wants to reduce his travel and enjoy some personal time while he remains above ground.

After exiting AM 1300 The Zone, Rod Babers has resurfaced on the airwaves of crosstown rival 104.9 The Horn. Babers joined the radio station a few weeks ago, hosting a new midday show, “The Rodcast”, M-F 1p-3p CT.

Columbus sports radio station 105.7 The Zone has added a local afternoon show. “The Drive with Jackson and McCoy” now airs weekday afternoons 3p-6p ET. The program features market veteran Matt McCoy and Big Ten Network analyst Stanley Jackson.

Program Director Ryan Porth is getting busy behind the microphone. Porth is hosting a new weekly show called “Preds Insiders” on Nashville sports station 102.5 The Game. The program airs Monday nights from 6p-7p ET.

106.7 The Zone in Madison, Wisconsin has hired a new reporter/host. Danny Cunningham has agreed to join the radio station. He had recently announced his departure from ESPN Cleveland 850 WKNR. Cunningham will cover the Packers, Bucks, Brewers and University of Wisconsin Badgers for the radio station starting September 25th.

Former Louisville host Spencer Kietzman has confirmed he’s joined Arizona’s Sports Station 98.7FM. The son of WHB afternoon host Kevin Kietzman will contribute for the Phoenix brand on a part time basis.

One of Chicago’s most influential sports radio personalities is putting his lifetime of experiences in the business on paper. Former 670 The Score afternoon host Terry Boers is publishing a memoir titled “The Score of a Lifetime.” The book is expected to be released November 15th. For more details including how you can pre-order it click here.

Speaking of books, sports business consultant and host of the Tao of Sports Podcast Troy Kirby has published “Liquid Courage”, a story about three bodybuilders who attempted a casino heist. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or e-book. For more information about the book visit the Facebook page or Twitter page.

All Access featured SiriusXM sports program director Jason Dixon in their latest edition of 10 Questions. To read the piece and become more familiar with Dixon’s career in the radio industry click here.

In Baltimore, Tony Lombardi of Russell Street Report conducted an interview with 105.7 The Fan afternoon host Scott Garceau. The article includes Garceau’s thoughts on working with Jeremy Conn, Anita Marks, callers to his show, and more. To read it click here.

The Baton Rouge Business Report caught up with LSU football sideline reporter and Guaranty Media vice president and general manager Gordy Rush. One of the station’s under Rush’s watch is 104.5 ESPN. To gain further insight into Rush’s background and views click here.

In print news, The Athletic continues to stockpile talented writers. The latest to join the company is Andrew Brandt. The former NFL executive and ESPN NFL business analyst will continue producing written content for Peter King’s MMQB. He’s simply adding to his plate by creating columns for The Athletic.

Brandt may be doing double duty for SI and The Athletic but Chris Burke‘s situation is different. Burke has left SI to join The Athletic where he’ll cover the Detroit Lions for the company’s Detroit platform.

With many Bay Area sports writers flocking to The Athletic, that’s presented opportunity for others at the San Jose Mercury News. Matt Schneidman is the latest to take advantage of the situation. He’s signed on to cover the Oakland Raiders for the local newspaper.

Former FOX Sports writer Pat Muldowney has resurfaced. After being let go as part of FOX’s controversial shift to video, Muldowney has signed on to work for The Ringer.

Barstool Sports has hired their first full-time female on-air talent. Julie Stewart Binks has joined the multi-media company where she’ll be involved in a number of programs for the company. One of those projects includes hosting “The Barstool Tailgate Show” alongside company president Dave Portnoy and former NFL punter Pat McAfee. Stewart-Binks has previously worked for FS1 and works for ESPN as a sideline reporter on MLS games. Her role with Barstool won’t affect her role on ESPN.

VSporto has been ramping up its sports podcast programming. The company recently launched a new national NFL podcast with former ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan. They’ve also launched a Houston-centric podcast with local sports radio host Charlie Pallilo, and an irreverent college football show featuring Bleacher Report’s Adam Kramer and CBSSports’ Barrett Sallee.

Sticking with podcasts, Joy Taylor of FOX Sports 1‘s “Undisputed” has entered the digital audio space. Taylor has teamed up with Brandon J. Newman to launch Maybe I’m Crazy. In addition to playing the point guard between Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe, Taylor has long form talk experience. She previously hosted for 790 The Ticket in Miami and has also hosted shows on FOX Sports Radio. To hear the debut episode click here.

In sports television news, Cara Capuano has announced she’s returning to call women’s college sports for ESPN.

Derek Medlin has shared via social media that he’s returning to WRAL in two weeks. Medlin says he’s excited to get back to his roots covering sports for the channel.

Former Dallas Stars play by play man turned Los Angeles Kings announcer Ralph Strangis has received good news. The veteran hockey voice has been summoned by Westwood One to call USA Hockey this February in the winter Olympics.

And congratulations to Evan Pivnick on being named the new play by play voice and Director of Broadcasting for the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder. Pivnick previously called Bowling Green hockey games.

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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