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Under The Radar – October 2, 2017

Jason Barrett

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There’s been a lot happening across the sports media universe over the past two weeks. The items you may have missed are laid out below. A reminder, if you have news to share that’s related to your brand or personal career, please pass it along via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s the latest developments.

Congratulations to CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome. The leader of the clones called upon his passionate audience last week to help lift the show’s podcast to the top of the iTunes charts. Rome promised to make Friday’s radio show special by featuring some classic moments and guests and creating some unique segments and the trick worked as the clones got behind it using the hashtag #Romeageddon leading it to the top spot. To hear how Rome paid off the audience with Friday’s show click here.

One of the bigger sports radio mysteries is unfolding in Seattle where Mitch Levy has been off the airwaves of Sports Radio KJR following his arrest in a local prostitution sting. The radio station has re-branded morning drive as The Morning Show and has scrubbed Levy’s image off of its website but no statement has been made about Levy’s future. Sources say it’s unlikely the longtime Seattle morning host will be retained by KJR and a confirmation about the station’s morning plans are expected soon, but for now, listeners are left to speculate.

A tip of the cap to Bill Daughtry who recently announced his retirement from the New York sports radio airwaves. Daughtry spent the past 11 years with 98.7 FM ESPN New York but also worked for WFAN and MSG. Altogether he spent more than four decades informing and interacting with audiences. His warm personality and infectious energy will be sorely missed. To hear Daughtry’s final appearance on the Michael Kay show click here.

ESPN Radio deserves credit for recognizing one of its valuable longtime behind the scenes members. Liam Chapman, who has served as a producer on a number of programs including Mike and Mike, has been elevated to the position of Program Director. The promotion means Chapman will spend even more time in the future alongside former studio mate Justin Craig helping enhance the network’s on-air content and execution.

With one moving up in Bristol, another is moving out. Thomas Carroll has announced he’s leaving ESPN Radio after a little more than two years to return to Boston as a producer for 98.5 The Sports Hub. Carroll will work primarily with Celtics and Bruins broadcasts and also have a hand in weekend programming.

San Diego sports radio host Lee Hamilton has returned to the airwaves of The Mighty 1090. The market veteran is joining Scott and BR weekdays at 5pm to recreate his popular segment, “The Best 15 Minutes in Radio.” Hamilton spent a total of 26 years hosting radio shows in San Diego.

Changes are taking place at 107.7 The Franchise in Oklahoma City. The radio station has parted ways with its midday show, “The G-Men”, which had been hosted by Erik Gee and Anthony Fogle. The Franchise hasn’t yet revealed which show will be occupying the schedule going forward but an announcement should be coming soon.

Following the death of AM 1300 The Zone sports radio personality Sean Adams, a memorial fund has been set up for listeners and industry folks to make donations to help provide financial aid to African-American students seeking to attend college with one key reminder – The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately. Go to work. To pledge your support to The Sean Adams Memorial Fund click here.

Another industry member is also in need of support. WBBL program director Dave Jaconette suffered a stroke in June and is still in rehab and needing help with medical bills. To donate and help out the Grand Rapids radio man click here.

Good news has come to Brendan Gulick. Cleveland sports radio station 92.3 The Fan has hired Gulick to serve as an update anchor and deliver sports updates on the radio station. Gulick officially started working for the station last week.

102.9/750 The Game in Portland continues its search for an afternoon drive host. This week FOX Sports Radio host Brian Noe steps in Tuesday-Friday.

Former ESPN 730 in Charlotte host Lanny Ford has resurfaced on the North Carolina sports radio airwaves. Ford has teamed up with David Keever to host “The Bottom Line”, a one-hour program airing weekdays from 8a-9a ET on Sports Radio 1350AM in Asheville, North Carolina.

Marc Ryan is expanding his horizons and hoping to use his ability to educate listeners to do the same for students. The Sports Radio 610 part-time host has added the role of High School Media Teacher at Sam Rayburn High School. Ryan is in charge of the TV show for the school “Planet Rayburn” and is also teaching a graphics and animation class.

It looks like the Chicago Bears will be sticking around for a while on CBS Radio’s WBBM. The radio station has confirmed a new multi-year deal has been reached with the NFL franchise to continue airing its games on Newsradio 780 and 105.9FM.

The Bears aren’t the only team to sign a new agreement. The Indiana Pacers have also inked a renewal with their radio partner 107.5 and 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis. The NBA franchise has aired on Emmis radio stations for the past 22 seasons (Emmis owns The Fan). Terms of the renewal weren’t disclosed but longtime play by play voice Mark Boyle will return for his 30th season behind the mic as part of the new deal.

In Philadelphia, 97.5 The Fanatic announced an extension of its partnership with the Philadelphia 76ers. The two sides have struck a new multiyear agreement to keep 76ers games airing on the radio station for the foreseeable future. As part of the extension, play by play voice Tom McGinnis returns for his 23rd season.

Pittsburgh Penguins radio voice Mike Lange has announced he’s cutting back on his schedule this season. Lange plans to call all of the Pens home games and roughly 15 road games. He will also handle all playoff contests should the Pens advance to the postseason. Josh Getzoff will step in to call the games Lange isn’t available to work.

On the national front, Westwood One Sports has been utilizing Ted Emrich to call a few college football games. Emrich has worked the USC-Washington State and Colorado-Washington games and is scheduled for the upcoming Wisconsin-Nebraska game as well.

vSporto is busy creating new podcasts. Their latest project is The Family Huddle featuring Calais Campbell, Jared Campbell and Josh Barnes. To familiarize yourself with the program click here.

Kansas City sports radio producer and on-air contributor Ben Heisler has taken on a side project hosting the Awful Announcing podcast. Heisler’s first episode included a conversation with Brent Musburger. To hear it click here.

Moving to Raleigh, 99.9 The Fan has created a cool new video series called Drive Thru Takes featuring on-air hosts Joe Ovies and Lauren Brownlow. To watch the latest episode click here.

A little further south in Tampa, WDAE‘s Len Martez has taken the plunge into the podcast arena. The sports radio host has created the Monday Morning Extra Point podcast which focuses strictly on the NFL. To hear it click here.

Sticking with podcasts, Entourage member Jerry Ferrara has taped a new episode of “Bad 4 Business” and CBS Sports Radio afternoon host Brandon Tierney appears on the latest installment. The two Brooklyn natives spent over 90 minutes talking about sports, life and a variety of other topics. To hear it click here.

A tip of the cap to The Reelish Media Group which chronicled Kate Scott‘s first football play by play broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. To watch it click here.

An edition of UTR wouldn’t be complete without details of a new addition at The Athletic. The latest names to join the upstart sports website include legendary baseball writer and reporter Peter Gammons and Darnell Mayberry. Gammons has been added to contribute to the website’s major league baseball coverage. Mayberry has agreed to work for the outlet’s Chicago division covering the Chicago Bulls.

After 9 years as the Puck Daddy editor for Yahoo Sports, Greg Wyshysnki has announced he’s leaving the company for a new challenge. Details about his next move will be revealed soon.

Sports Radio News

Steak Shapiro Apologizes, Says He Didn’t Think Stetson Bennett Criticism Was ‘That Inflamatory’

“You were just trying to play music and not ignore the fans. Still don’t think it was a great speech, but again, you’re the biggest football hero in Georgia football history.”

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Wednesday’s edition of The Steakhouse was one Atlanta sports fans were waiting for. Late Tuesday night, Steak Shapiro took to Twitter to promise that he would address Stetson Bennett IV’s reaction to his criticism of the way the quarterback behaved at Georgia’s National Championship parade on Saturday.

“The notion is that Steak was basically roasted,” he said of the coverage the social media spat received. “He was put on the grill and taken to task.”

Shapiro had tweeted that he did not think it was a good look for Bennett to be on his phone during the championship parade and that his speech seemed more about settling old grudges than it was about celebrating the team or the fans. In a message on Twitter, which began by addressing Shapiro as “Mr. Med Rare”, Bennett explained that he was using his phone to play music in the car he was riding in. He was not ignoring the moment or the fans.

After giving Bennett credit for coming up with a funny nickname, Steak Shapiro said that he was surprised that the quarterback took the criticism so personally.

“My job is to give an opinion. I didn’t think it was that inflammatory. I didn’t think it was that dramatic.”

He added that has no problem with Stetson’s disdain for the media. He just thought the parade should have been about the fans and the accomplishment rather than Stetson Bennett IV trying to settle old grudges. Still, Shapiro wanted to make it clear that he does not hate the Georgia quarterback. He remains one of Bennett’s most vocal fans.

“On three or four occasions, I was lambasted because I said I thought he was the greatest player in Georgia history, and I said that before he won the national title,” Shapiro said. “I said that when they had the undefeated regular season, and then people started saying ‘stop saying that about Stetson’ or ‘Stetson’s overrated’. I just kinda had his back the entire year and probably had his back the last two years. I just didn’t think Saturday was a great day. That is what I have been saying, and I stand by it. I just didn’t think it was a great-looking day.”

Steak Shapiro did offer an apology to Bennett. He said that if the quarterback was just trying to play music on his phone, that isn’t that big of a deal, and if he had known that is what was happening, his reaction may have been different.

“My bad,” he concluded. “You were just trying to play music and not ignore the fans. Still don’t think it was a great speech, but again, you’re the biggest football hero in Georgia football history. You’re one of the iconic sports figures — maybe number one — in a town of Hank Aaron, and Chipper Jones, and Domonique Wilkins, and Matt Ryan, and Deion Sanders. You’re probably number one all time.”

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Sports Radio News

Brian Gebhardt to Serve as Program Director of Sactown Sports 1140

“Learning under skilled leaders such as Terry Foxx, Sean Thompson, Reggie Rouse, and Mike Conti helped prepare Gebhardt for the next step.”

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Sactown Sports 1140 has found their next program director. After an extensive search, GM Steve Cottingim and Bonneville Sacramento’s Group Director of Programming Chad Rufer have found their next leader in Atlanta, GA, tabbing Brian Gebhardt to guide the brand’s programming department.

Gebhardt heads west to join Bonneville Sacramento after enjoying over seven years of success at 92.9 The Game. He has served recently as the Executive Producer of the ‘Andy & Randy’ show featuring Randy McMichael and Andy Bunker. During his time with the Atlanta sports station, Gebhardt has learned under skilled leaders such as Terry Foxx, Sean Thompson, Reggie Rouse, and Mike Conti. Those experiences prepared Gebhardt for the next step, as did working with numerous on-air talents who have helped The Game become a model of consistency in Georgia.

“Brian’s experience working with both premiere talent and professional sports franchises will help us help the Sactown Sports brand grow both on-air and on-line ,” said Cottingim.

“Brian demonstrated to us a real passion for leading extraordinary talent,” shared Rufer. “We are very confident that he will help us grow Sactown Sports into Sacramento’s premiere sports brand.”

“I can’t wait to get started and I am beyond excited to be working with Bonneville,” added Gebhardt.  

The hiring of the Georgia native as new PD allows Nick Cattles to focus exclusively on hosting the station’s afternoon show, a role he’s wanted to invest more time. Cattles joined Sactown Sports in November 2021 and has pulled double duty since arriving in Northern California. He hired Ramie Makhlouf as his afternoon drive co-host and the duo have built a solid foundation in afternoons. Having the ability now to focus solely on the show should allow Cattles and Ramie to elevate their program even more.

The first day on the job for Gebhardt will be Monday February 3rd. Depending on what develops with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC playoffs, there’s a possibility he could be walking into two straight weeks of Super Bowl planning. Regardless, Gebhardt has a new market to learn, a new team to meet, a new company to deliver results for, and an opportunity to take a big step in his radio career.

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DNVR Sports Files Injunction Against Bonneville Over Denver Sports Brand

“We can’t allow someone that represents the exact opposite of us to damage the goodwill of our brand or create confusion in the community.”

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After Bonneville International unveiled new branding for its Denver Sports properties, digital outlet DNVR Sports has filed an injunction to stop the radio company from utilizing the brand and logos.

In a Twitter thread, ALLCITY Network CEO Brandon Spano claimed DNVR Sports has already seen listeners, viewers, and readers confuse the two brands. “We can’t allow someone that represents the exact opposite of us to damage the goodwill of our brand or create confusion in the community,” Spano tweeted.

“Our branding was created purposefully, to be different from the way sports networks traditionally looked,” he said in another tweet. “To represent the city of Denver in a simple way while removing us from the gloss and pretentiousness of sports media. To create something that brings people together.”

Spano added that ALLCITY sent Bonneville a cease-and-desist letter last week, but claims the company failed to respond, so an injunction has been filed.

The Denver Sports branding utilized by Bonneville — which encompasses 104.3 The Fan and ESPN Denver — features a black and white city skyline as well as the Rocky Mountains inside a hexagon with block lettering. The DNVR Sports logo is a rectangle, similar to the city of Denver flag, with the sun centered between the mountain peaks and a block “DNVR” below the rectangle.

The complaint filed by StudioIP LLC — the law firm representing ALLCITY — claims the branding used by Bonneville constitutes “trademark infringement, unfair competition, trade dress infringement, dilution by tarnishment, and tortious interference arising out of Bonneville’s trademark infringement of Plaintiff’s trademarks,” according to Westword.

Bonneville has denied any wrongdoing, saying the accusations “have absolutely no merit, and our legal counsel is preparing a formal response. Denver Sports remains committed to delivering the most in-depth and inclusive local sports content for all Denver sports fans.”

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