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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – January 4, 2018

Jason Barrett

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The new year is here and we’ve got plenty to catch you up on from across the sports media universe. A reminder to my industry friends, I’m happy to help you tell your story if you take the time to pass it along. Whether it’s a major development or something smaller, if it’s relevant to the sports media business and worth informing listeners or advertisers about, I’m here to help. All tips can be relayed via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now here’s the latest news!

BSM will have a piece coming out on Friday taking a look at the fall ratings for a number of sports stations across the country. Be sure to visit the website or keep an eye out on social media for the column.

2018 began with a number of new shows premiering across the nation. The one though under the largest microscope is WFAN‘s new afternoon show featuring Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray. The trio officially took over for Mike Francesa on Tuesday January 2nd and have already earned the scorn of the New York Daily News. To read the newspaper’s blistering review of the show click here. Newsday‘s Neil Best provided a less scathing assessment of the show which you can read by clicking here. Best also gave some ink to WFAN‘s new morning show, Boomer & Gio, and the Michael Kay Show which took exception to a caller suggesting the program should have been more complimentary towards Mike Francesa when he signed off at The Fan. NJ.com got in on the action too by crafting an article which explains why Chris Carlin is unfazed by critics.

Speaking of debuts, CBS Sports Radio has turned the morning airwaves over to Marc Malusis and former pro wrestler turned talk show host Taz. With Gregg Giannotti moving over to WFAN to work with Boomer Esiason, Giannotti’s former co-host Brian Jones has left the radio network to focus on his television work. CBS Sports Radio has also begun simulcasting Jim Rome and Boomer and Gio on the CBS Sports Network.

Meanwhile at ESPN Radio, the new year started off with Stephen A. Smith, Will Cain and the team of Sarah Spain and Jason Fitz now entrenched in the weekday lineup. All three shows began airing nationwide this past Tuesday January 2nd. ESPN Radio is also launching a new weekend program, “Game Day“, featuring Laura Rutledge, Myron Medcalf and Doug Kezirian starting Saturday January 6th. The show will air from 12p-4p ET.

Elsewhere, JT The Brick has landed a local 1-hour show in Las Vegas on FOX Sports 98.9 FM/1340AM. The Brick will host from 4p-5p PT prior to taking over the national airwaves on FOX Sports Radio from 5p-8p PT.

Also in Las Vegas, Matt Perrault has moved from evenings to middays on SB Nation Radio. Perrault’s new program, Pushing The Odds, airs weekdays from Noon to 3p ET.

Glad to see WEEI and afternoon host Dale Arnold come to terms on a new deal. Arnold, along with Michael Holley and Rich Keefe, have consistently delivered strong ratings in afternoon drive for the radio station. The combined share of Men 25-54 in Boston listening to sports radio on WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub during afternoon drive is consistently between 20-25, making it a highly competitive battle and the envy of many other local markets.

KNBR afternoon host Tom Tolbert is doing better following a series of surgeries. The longtime Bay Area sports talk show host and ex-NBA player was the focus of Bruce Jenkins‘ latest piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s an excellent read. You can enjoy it by clicking here.

Take a few minutes to read Zach McCrite‘s piece on former University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich. In the article, McCrite shares how the former AD used his influence to prevent him from hosting afternoons on 790 KRD in 2010. This is an issue which many broadcasters deal with especially when trying to serve as a radio partner to popular teams who are run by influential executives. You can read it by clicking here.

A few content pieces worth listening to.

  • Clay Travis‘ interview with Hugh Freeze on FOX Sports Radio was very good. The former Ole Miss football coach discussed his ugly exit from the school, why social media is bad for college football and much more. You can hear it by clicking here.
  • Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith of the Mighty 1090 in San Diego conducted an emotional interview with NFL on CBS play by play announcer Jim Nantz. The conversation included Nantz sharing a few thoughts on the late Dick Enberg. To hear it click here.
  • Joe Beningo of WFAN eviscerated CBS Sports Radio‘s Damon Amendolara after DA went on SNY and said New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles had performed better than expected this past season. DA then phoned into Beningo’s show and the two exchanged a few passionate views on the Jets head coaching situation. You can hear it by clicking here.

Look for a feature soon on The Athletic’s Chicago platform featuring 670 The Score overnight host Les Grobstein. The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg, who previously worked in Chicago sports radio and television is writing the story.

Sticking with Chicago sports media news, 670 The Score evening host Laurence Holmes says plans are in the works for a future podcast with afternoon host Jason Goff. No word yet on when it will be released.

Like father like son. Ben Rosen, the son of 670 The Score program director Mitch Rosen, has played a prominent role in reviving WMPA, Morgan Park Academy’s radio station. The high school senior is providing play by play and a pregame show for boys basketball games. Familiarize yourself with his story by clicking here.

A tip of the cap to Cumulus San Francisco who utilized the KNBR, KNBR 1050, KGO, 107.7 The Bone, KFOG and KSFO airwaves to help raise $500,000 dollars for North Bay wildfire victims. Cumulus is disbursing the funds to three groups, United Way Bay Area, Redwood Empire Food Bank and American Red Cross’ Northern California Chapter.

Continuing with the theme of making a difference, Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket in Dallas raised over $540,000 for the Austin Street Center as part of its annual Normathon. Since starting the fundraiser 17 years ago, The Ticket has helped raise $4.7 million dollars. Austin Street Center is an emergency shelter that serves men ages 45 and older and women ages 18 and older, meeting the basic needs of the most vulnerable homeless.

Shifting to Buffalo, great job by WGR‘s Bills beat/sideline reporter Sal Capaccio on capturing video reaction from Bills fans at the airport after the team landed Sunday night. Despite  en route to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. To watch the video click here.

With the University of Georgia set to face Alabama on Monday night in the NCAA College Football Playoff, 680 The Fan is taking advantage of the excitement by broadcasting a special 24-hour pregame show starting Sunday night. The station’s shows will originate from a heated tent in downtown Atlanta with live check ins taking place from local tailgates. The Fan plans to mix up it’s talent combinations and shows to create a special day of programming. ESPN Radio‘s Golic and Wingo will also be in town broadcasting their show at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Former 92.9 The Game evening host Mitch Evans has landed an opportunity as a sports anchor and writer for iHeart Media and the 24/7 News Network. Evans will continue to be based out of Atlanta.

Dave “Deuce” Mason did an excellent job producing an audio documentary on the career of Sacramento Kings play-by-play man Gary Gerould. It includes interviews with Gerould, Chris Webber, Doug Christie, Marv Albert, Grant Napear and more. You can hear it by clicking here.

Former Minneapolis sports radio host Jeff Dubay has plead guilty to third degree assault. The former KFAN personality will be sentenced on March 22nd and could face up to four months in jail. You can learn more by clicking here.

A few programming promotions to pass along. Jason Rossi has been named the new afternoon producer of Dale and Holley with Keefe at WEEI. Tim Murray will be part of Westwood One‘s Winter Olympics broadcast crew this February serving primarily as the studio host for all hockey broadcasts. Jose Partida has been elevated to full time producer at ESPN 97.5 and SB Nation Radio in Houston. Shane Riordan has increased his behind the scenes duties at 670 The Score, and Matt Castillo has been hired behind the scenes at FOX Sports 1400 in Spartanburg.

Radio Ink recently produced its annual Top Sports Talkers list. To see which hosts and shows were featured in the Top 35 click here.

All the best to longtime ESPN NFL Miami-based reporter James Walker who has left the worldwide leader after spending the past decade with the company. Altogether Walker spent sixteen years in the business. He’s elected to pursue a new opportunity with a CPA firm handling accounts for professional athletes.

In case you missed it, Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated reported that Jeannine Edwards has retired from the sports broadcasting business. Edwards worked the Cotton Bowl as her final assignment for ESPN. She had been with the network since 1995.

2018 begins the same way that 2017 ended in print news, with The Athletic adding more contributors to their staff. The latest to announce his addition to the digital platform is Lars Anderson.

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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