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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – January 23, 2018

Jason Barrett

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Most sports radio stations are preparing for next week’s buildup to the Super Bowl. Some are invading Minneapolis to operate on radio row. Others are avoiding the cold and working out of their home studios. Although that may be the focus, it doesn’t mean the news wheel stops spinning. If you’d like to be included in this column in the future, send your information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s the latest activity in sports media circles.

Bad news to report out of Chicago. Cumulus Media has opted out of their multi-year agreements with the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls. Each team has aired their games on WLS AM 890. Cumulus filed for bankruptcy and as part of the process, have chosen to return a number of Chicago stations to their previous owner Merlin Media. How this will affect the Bulls and White Sox radio partnerships is unclear at this time.

Elsewhere in the windy city, 670 The Score‘s Danny Parkins is trying to make a difference. The Score midday host turned the Chicago Bulls draft night decision of selling off Jordan Bell to the Golden State Warriors into a positive. Parkins had a number of shirts customized with the text “3.5 Million” added on the back. That amount signifies what the Bulls received back for the talented rookie. The shirts are being sold for charity with a portion of the profits going to benefit Feed My Starving Children.

An interesting piece of news was shared in an article last week on the Sports Business Journal‘s website. John Ourand reported that ESPN is cutting back on travel to Minneapolis this year. The network is reportedly reducing the amount of ESPN Radio shows sent to the Super Bowl host city to provide coverage leading up to the Super Bowl.

Well wishes go out to Sports Radio WIP‘s Joe DeCamara. The Philadelphia midday host recently missed a number of shows due to being hospitalized with internal organ issues. DeCamara has since returned to hosting his daily program with Jon Ritchie. With the Eagles Super Bowl bound, DeCamara would have likely had doctors working on him during commercial breaks to make sure he was able to operate behind a microphone over these next two weeks.

101 ESPN afternoon host and former major league baseball pitcher Brad Thompson is earning a little more air time on St. Louis Cardinals television broadcasts this season according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Thompson is expected to work as the team’s color analyst alongside play by play man Dan McLaughlin for 15 games. Regular analyst Al Hrabosky is reducing his workload for the 2018 season. Tim McCarver and Ricky Horton will also continue contributing as analysts to Cardinals telecasts.

SiriusXM‘s PGA Tour channel has announced a few additions. John Cook, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour, and golf analysts and former collegiate golfers Angela Garcia and Hally Leadbetter have signed on to host shows on the channel. Cook will be heard every Tuesday 7p-8p ET. Garcia and Leadbetter will host a show together every Monday 8p-9p ET.

After 15 years on the Dayton sports scene, Mark Neal has chosen to leave WING-AM ESPN 1410. Neal told the Dayton Daily News that he and his wife have decided to take different career directions, which will pull him him away from the radio station he’s spent the past 18 years at.

A tip of the cap to San Jose Sharks radio voice Dan Rusanowsky. The exceptional Bay Area play by play man recently called his 2,000th regular season Sharks contest.

Also out of the Bay Area, Martin Gallegos has announced he’s signed on full-time as the Oakland A’s beat reporter for the Bay Area News Group (Mercury News/East Bay Times.)

Last but not least, Michael Bish has landed a show on FOX Sports Radio 1340 in Richmond, Virginia. The program is scheduled to debut in February!

Sports Radio News

Longtime Hornets Analyst, Radio Host Gerry Vaillancourt Dies

“Gerry was one of the originals in the start of sports talk in Charlotte: funny, entertaining and a basketball encyclopedia.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Gerry Vaillancourt, a voice synonymous with Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets basketball, passed away over the weekend.

According to information provided to the Charlotte Observer from the family, Vaillancourt, affectionately known at “Gerry V,” died due to complications from a heart condition.

Vaillancourt was a mainstay on Hornets broadcasts dating back to the franchise’s inception in the 80s. Additionally, he was a fixture on sports talk radio. Vaillancourt hosted shows on WCNT, WFNZ and WBT in Charlotte, as well as on 1280 AM and WRNO in New Orleans.

“Gerry was one of the originals in the start of sports talk in Charlotte: funny, entertaining and a basketball encyclopedia,” WBT and Hornets colleague Jim Szoke told the Charlotte Observer. “I used to love when Hubie Brown was on as a regular guest and listening to them talk hoops in great detail.”

Vaillancourt was born and raised in New York City. He played basketball collegiately at Gardner-Webb University and coached at James Madison, Davidson, and Appalachian State.

He was 72 years old.

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Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

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The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

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Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

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