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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – November 27, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Activity in the sports radio business has been high the past month. Here are a couple of stories that have taken place which you might have missed.

As always, you can be included in this column by forwarding pertinent information about yourself or your brand to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news!

Trey Wingo and Mike Golic have officially taken over the morning slot on ESPN Radio. The pair who are accompanied by Golic’s son Mike Jr. for the first hour of the show began their tenure as the radio network’s new morning team this morning. To promote the new show, Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News caught up with Wingo and the NY Post did a detailed story on Golic which detailed how close he came to retiring when the decision was made to split up Mike and Mike.

One behind the scenes move related to the new Wingo and Golic program, Bristol production whiz Jerry Mailhot Jr. has been named the show’s new imaging producer.

Former WFAN morning host Craig Carton may no longer be on the New York radio airwaves but rather than sitting silently on the sidelines, he’s using the opportunity to launch a new podcast. Carton released a trailer for his new project and you can hear it by clicking here.

The Entercom-CBS merger has resulted in a number of leadership changes in major markets across the country. To read the entire list of managerial changes click here.

In other management news, congrats to Todd Markiewicz on being named the new President/General Manager of 97.1 The Fan and 1460 ESPN in Columbus, OH. He takes over for Dave Van Stone who is retiring.

A sports radio reunion is taking place in Detroit. After being let go in a round of layoffs, Matt Shepard has been brought back to WDFN-AM 1130 The Fan. iHeartmedia’s Detroit sports talker has returned Shepard to morning drive.

1230 “The Fan 2” in Atlanta has removed “The Regular Guys” from its program schedule. Former NFL lineman and co-host Bob Whitfield was taken off the show last month and now featured host Larry Wachs and his remaining cohorts are also done. The station is said to be shifting its focus in the direction of delivering more local sports content. On that note, one local name who’s expected to play a role on the station moving forward is Mark Zinno. The former 92.9 The Game evening host recently filled in for a few days on 680 The Fan. Zinno’s addition would provide a nice boost for David Dickey’s second sports station.

Congratulations go out to Mike Gill of 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City. The afternoon host and station brand manager was recently inked to a new contract to continue in current dual role.

A job well done by the crew at 102.5/610 The Fan WFNZ in Charlotte. The station held its annual Street Turkeys promotion last week and raised over fifteen thousand dollars plus received 865 turkeys and fourteen thousand pounds of food to help the Harvest Food Bank and Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.

Take a few minutes of your time to read this fantastic piece on WEEI and NBC Sports Boston personality Trenni Kusnierek. The article highlights some of the challenges of sexual harassment that Kusnierek has had to overcome and details how she’s cut thru and gained acceptance in the Boston sports radio market.

Also in Boston, as a result of the Entercom-CBS merger and sale of 98.5 The Sports Hub to Beasley Broadcasting, Adam Kaufman had to relinquish his role with The Hub to focus on his duties with WBZ. Kaufman had been involved with The Hub since 2011.

CBS Sports programming czar Sean McManus visited with Dan Sileo on the Mighty 1090 in San Diego to discuss the current state of NFL ratings on television. McManus shared his views on viewing habits and why he remains bullish on the NFL’s drawing power. To hear it click here.

It’s not everyday you hear a baseball manager publicly share a near death experience on the radio airwaves but that’s exactly what took place in Kansas City. Royals skipper Ned Yost spoke with Bob Fescoe, Mike Welch and Josh Klingler about his scary situation. To hear Yost tell the story click here.

Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan in Washington DC is being given an opportunity to host a few weekend shifts on the CBS Sports Radio Network. Russell hosted this past weekend and is expected to return next weekend as well.

In St. Louis, Nick Wagoner returned last week to his former city for a few days, teaming up with Anthony Stalter on 101 ESPN. Wagoner is now based in California and covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

Former CBS Radio CEO turned play by play broadcaster Dan Mason has been tabbed to call Coppin State women’s games this season. The school is broadcast in the Baltimore market on WNST 1540AM.

Memphis sports radio host Eli Savoie has landed the play by play role on Memphis Hustle broadcasts. Broadcasts this season are available via Facebook Live thru the team’s page and the NBA G League’s page.

Sports Radio USA celebrated a milestone with its 500th live NFL game broadcast on November 12th. The national play by play syndicator aired its first NFL game November 3, 2002. Founder and lead broadcaster Larry Kahn says the network is still going strong and growing and the network’s achievement is a testament to the league’s success and having help from a number of very talented individuals.

Winnipeg sports fans will be treated to seven more years of Blue Bomber football broadcasts on 680 CJOB. The Corus Radio group has extended its agreement with the team through 2024 giving CBOJ the opportunity to air all of the teams home and away games.

SB Nation Radio has brought back “In the Post” featuring NBA Hall of Famer, Elvin Hayes. The show is co-hosted by Joe George and features a mix of interviews and analysis from the biggest newsmakers in college and pro basketball. Listeners can hear the show live on Saturday evenings at 7p ET or via replay on Sunday at 8p ET on SB Nation Radio and local affiliate stations.

In the digital audio space, Jimmy Shapiro has launched a new podcast focused on sports betting. “The Hedge – Why I Gamble with Jimmy Shapiro” features different media personalities discussing the reasons why they bet on sports and what they look for in particular situations. The first episode features 95.7 The Game morning host Joe Fortenbaugh.

New FOX Sports contributor Howie Schwab recorded a podcast with ESPN’s Chris Berman. Boomer discussed some of the NFL storylines and his first season not occupying a main role on Sunday NFL Countdown. To hear it click here.

XTRA 1360 sports radio host Mark Willard has launched a new podcast titled “Ballers and Babies.” Former athletes turned radio personalities Mychael Thompson and Keyshawn Johnson have appeared on recent episodes. To hear it click here.

The NCAA has decided to ramp up its college basketball coverage by adding longtime ESPN college hoops insider Andy Katz. The exceptional reporter was a surprise cut during the last round of layoffs at the network. His addition should increase the visibility and quality of the NCAA’s digital and social content.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis published a good piece on former NFL wide receiver turned ESPN NFL analyst Randy Moss. The article captures how Moss has transitioned into the media and has brought an infectious energy to Sunday NFL Countdown. To read it click here.

Proof that good things come to those who wait. The Times Herald Record in Middletown, NY has promoted sportswriter and columnist Ken McMillan to the position of Sports Editor. McMillan has contributed to the newspaper’s sports section for the past 17 years.

A great signing by The Athletic in San Francisco. The growing sports digital platform has hired the exceptional San Francisco Giants writer and reporter Andrew Baggarly. Baggs is expected to play a vital role in strengthening the brand’s Giants coverage.

In Phoenix, Richard Morin has been named the Arizona Republic‘s new beat writer of the Arizona Coyotes.

Congrats to Oakland Raiders Senior Editor and Team Historian Jerry Knaak on the release of his new book “The Dark Truth.” To learn more and purchase your copy click here.

Sticking with new releases, former ESPN producer Jason Romano has a new book coming out. “Live To Forgive” is available for pre-orders and will be officially released in January. For more information click here.

ESPN recently announced the addition of broadcaster and author Mark Kriegel. His contributions are expected to revolve around NBA and Boxing coverage with a variety of content coming in the form of long-form storytelling and video and print essays. He has previously contributed to the NFL Network, FOX Sports, the New York Post and Daily News, and Showtime.

Speaking of ESPN, last Wednesday night’s college basketball game between Tulane and Miami (OH) on ESPN3 featured a play by play voice with great bloodlines. Sam Ravech, the son of multi-talented ESPN studio host Karl Ravech, got his first taste of ESPN activity. No word yet on if other opportunities are forthcoming.

Hard work has paid off for Brent Schwartz. NFL.com has hired Schwartz in an entry level role to contribute to its web content. The NFL blogger is expected to relocate to Los Angeles in the next few weeks.

The Miami Marlins are making changes to their television broadcasts. Longtime play by play man Rich Waltz has been informed he won’t be back for a 14th season. Also shown the door were former Marlins turned analysts Jeff Conine and Preston Wilson.

Sad news to pass along. Longtime broadcaster and former Trail Blazers star Steve “Snapper” Jones has passed away. Jones was 75 years old.

Congrats to Sports Radio 610 host and former WWE NXT announcer Alex Del Barrio. The sports media veteran has been named the new sports director of CBS 4 KGBT-TV in Harlingen, Texas.

The Players’ Tribune has launched a new six episode video series, The First Step, featuring former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse as host. Stackhouse travels the country meeting with athletes to discuss the important issues facing communities across the country. Among those scheduled to appear on episodes with Stackhouse are former NFL defensive back Charles Tillman, NBA assistant coach Becky Hammon, New York Giants WR Brandon Marshall, Lakers and Trail Blazers players Brandon Ingram and Caleb Swanigan, and WNBA player Maya Moore.

Former ESPN contributor Derek Tyson confirmed earlier this month on Twitter that his contract had officially expired with the worldwide leader in sports. Rather than dive back into covering the world of sports with another media outlet, Tyson says he’s going to pursue business opportunities outside of the sports world.

Congratulations to Lauren Walsh. After spending time with WYSR in Syracuse, Walsh is off to ABC 22/FOX 44 in Burlington, Vermont to serve as a sports anchor and reporter.

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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Sports Radio News

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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