Sports Radio News
Under The Radar – March 6, 2018
The sports radio world has had a number of developments recently which are worth passing along. I remind you that this column doesn’t work without your input. Whether it’s company news, personal news, a brand success story, a creative idea or something else that you think would be valuable to our readers, if you have an item worth passing along, please send an email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s the latest information.
Last week Entercom confirmed the rumors of a flip to talk in San Diego. Those who were expecting Energy 97.3 to become a full service FM sports station though were left with only part of their appetite fulfilled. The station has been rebranded as 97.3 The Machine. The lineup includes some sports via San Diego Padres baseball and Dan Sileo in middays. The Machine though is taking a different approach in both drive times, focusing on hot talk and comedy courtesy of The Men’s Room and Kevin Klein Live. Evening and weekend programming will include a mixture of classic rock and comedy bits. With San Diego having just one professional team and two sports stations with established local talent in place, The Machine is hoping a different approach allows it to make a greater impact.
One show which is not part of the new lineup on 97.3 The Machine is The Jim Rome Show. Rome was recently dropped by The Mighty 1090, the San Diego station where he first introduced his unique brand of sports talk. Despite being a mainstay on the station over the past few decades, 1090 said Rome’s numbers had declined and a change was necessary. The decision created a lot of local noise which led 1090’s Market Manager Mike Glickenhaus to make a rare appearance on Scott and BR to address it. To hear the interview click here. Rome’s program has been replaced on 1090 by ESPN Radio‘s Dan Le Batard Show. Le Batard’s program has also been added to ESPN 1000 in Chicago’s evening schedule.
A little further north, Sean Farnham has quietly left the afternoon show at ESPN LA 710 after just two months on the job. The ESPN college hoops analyst and former radio host had been added to the mix in December where he was to join Marcellus Wiley and Eric Davis as part of a revised three man team. Davis though was let go the following month after sexual harassment allegations arose from his time working at the NFL Network. That led to Wiley and Farnham working together as a two-man unit. However, that too was short lived because now Farnham is gone and Travis Rodgers has been added to the mix. Local sources haven’t said much about the change. Farnham hasn’t addressed it directly either.
One place you will be able to hear Farnham going forward is on SiriusXM‘s Pac-12 radio. The satellite company has launched a series of new college conference channels. The Pac-12 product hit the air on Monday and includes a new morning show featuring Guy Haberman and Ryan Leaf, and an afternoon show with Geoff Schwartz and Kate Scott and Sean O’Connell taking turns as lead host. Farnham and Charles Arbuckle are expected to make appearances on the channel, and former Arizona State head basketball coach Bill Frieder and former Arizona State guard and Pac-12 Player of the Year Eddie House are visiting this week to discuss the Pac-12 Tournament.
SiriusXM also unveiled its ACC Radio channel. The lineup includes “ACC This Morning” with Mark Packer and Wes Durham. The afternoon slot is being branded as “ACC Today” and features the team of Chris Spatola and Jac Collinsworth. The channel also includes contributions from Fran Franschilla, Bobby Cremins, Aaron Taylor, Jonathan Vilma and Tom Luginbill.
If that wasn’t enough SiriusXM news for you, Mad Dog Sports Radio has one item to pass along as well. Danny Kanell has been added to channel’s weekday lineup. The former QB turned radio and TV analyst is joining Steve Torre weekdays from 1p-3p ET.
WEEI in Boston created some buzz on Tuesday. The radio station brought in Britt McHenry as a third host on the popular morning program Kirk and Callahan. No word if future appearances will take place with McHenry or if it’s a one-time deal. The station is also going thru a search in afternoons to fill the seat vacated by Michael Holley. McHenry has also added a Friday night TV program in Washington DC on FOX 5 working with Bram Weinstein and Guy Lambert.
Well wishes go out to Beanie Wells. The former NFL and Ohio State RB has been battling health issues which have caused him to miss time from his radio program on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. Wells said he’s been experiencing headaches and dealing with memory loss as a result of a traumatic brain injury which he suffered while playing football. The challenges have forced Wells to take on a diminished role on the show for the foreseeable future while dealing with his challenges. The station will use a rotation of co-hosts alongside host Tim Hall until further notice.
Afternoon producer and on-air host Ben Heisler is ready to take on a new challenge. After spending 4 years with 610 Sports, Heisler has announced he’s leaving the station for an opportunity as the new Director of Media Relations for Fantasy Sports Markets. Heisler says he plans to continue hosting his fantasy show on 610 and remain a fantasy insider in radio/TV/digital. He also stays active hosting a podcast for Awful Announcing. To read FSM’s release on hiring Heisler click here.
Kudos to Ben and Skin of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. The afternoon show landed an interview on February 23rd with Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant which generated a lot of mainstream media attention. The brash Cowboys wideout addressed speculation about his future in Dallas and said “I’m ready to make my mark. I don’t care what nobody is talking about, I couldn’t care less. Everybody that ain’t with Dez Bryant, they can kiss my ass.” Those remarks were followed up by Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones offering a number of non committal responses about Bryant’s future with the franchise. To hear the Bryant interview, click here.
Westwood One‘s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament coverage will be utilized as part of Turner Sports, CBS, and the NCAA’s March Madness LIVE streaming services. The network’s play-by-play broadcasts from all 67 tournament games will be streamed along with TV coverage from Turner and CBS as part of a special “Fast Break” channel which will be similar in style to what NFL fans have become accustomed to with “Red Zone.”
Portland Trail Blazers play by play announcer Brian Wheeler continues to battle health issues. As a result, it’s forced Wheeler to restrict his availability to working only home games. Scott Lynn has been handling road games for the franchise.
Congratulations to Zach Gelb. The afternoon host and program director of 920 The Jersey FOX Sports Radio has announced he’s leaving the Trenton, NJ sports station for an opportunity on CBS Sports Radio. Gelb will be heard on weekend overnights hosting the 2a-6a ET shift. His final day with 920 will be March 15th. The radio station hasn’t announced yet how they will operate in afternoon show beyond that date. With his move to CBS Sports Radio, Gelb will also give up his part-time hosting role during the football season on 97.5 The Fanatic.
Sticking in the Tri-State area, 98.7 ESPN Radio New York host Dave Rothenberg will be honored on Saturday April 21st by his alma mater NYIT. The school has declared that day ‘Dave Rothenberg Day‘. The special day will include an appearance by Rothenberg and his on-air partners Chris Canty and Rick DiPietro at the school’s LaCrosse game against LIU Post. The trio will preside over a ceremonial faceoff among other activities. For more information click here.
Hall of Fame broadcaster and the voice of the San Francisco Giants Jon Miller appeared on the Watch The Media podcast with John Shrader. Miller offered his insights on a number of subjects including his admiration for Vin Scully and his call of Hank Aaron’s 715th homerun, Barry Bonds’ homerun chase, his lengthy career and more. To hear it click here.
SB Nation Radio has launched a new show. Two Man Game features former NBA star Mario Elie and local host Joel Blank. The program is scheduled to debut on March 10th and will air each Saturday from 3p-4p ET.
In South Florida, Alpha Media Hot AC morning co-host Kevin Rolston has been handed the keys to his own sports program on 640 The Hurricane. Rolston is now installed weekdays from 3p-4p ET and hosting the show affectionately titled “Kevin’s Other Show.”
After 42 years, John ‘JT’ Thompson decided it was time to step away from mornings on Talk/Sports 960 WBST in South Bend. The station has replaced Thompson’s show with ESPN Radio‘s Wingo and Golic.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports Radio News
Jay Williams Calls Listener, Forces Him To Pay Their $1000 Lakers Bet
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
If you owe Jay Williams money, he is going to find you. Just ask Rob, a listener in Orlando who bet the ESPN Radio morning man that the Lakers would advance to the NBA Finals.
Last week, Rob called Keyshawn, JWill and Max and bet Williams $1000 the Lakers would eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Williams said if that happened, he would pay Rob $1500.
Obviously, that is not the way things played out. On Tuesday morning, Jay Williams called Rob demanding payment.
“He owes me my money,” he said. “So you know what we do? We got Detective Pat on the call today. Pat, let’s give this man a call. See if this guy picks up, trying to run away from giving me my money.”
The show’s associate producer Patrick Costello called the number Rob left last week. On the first attempt, the listener did not pick up. Williams vowed to keep up the pressure on social media and national radio and television until he got paid.
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
“You know, getting that money is a wrap, Jay,” Keyshawn Johnson said through laughter. “I told you that.”
The show made one more attempt to connect with Rob before having to turn things over to Greeny. This time, the Lakers fan picked up and acknowledged that he had to pay. He offered to make a donation in Williams’s name.
“I’ll send you my bank account here privately, and then I will send it to the charity of my choice,” Williams agreed.
Rob agreed to the arrangement. Williams asked him if he wanted to apologize for doubting the basketball analyst’s prediction of the Lakers’ demise.
“Apologize? I need the Lakers to apologize to me after that performance,” Rob said. “Because Jesus Christ, that was horrible. That was bad.”
Sports Radio News
Stoney & Jansen on LeBron James Retirement Talk: ‘NBA Needs Offseason Stories’
“I think we pick and choose with him. I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
As the Los Angeles Lakers exited the court after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, a grim reality set in across the basketball world regarding the future of forward LeBron James. Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up, James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, a 19-time All Star selection, four-time MVP, and four-time NBA champion.
During his postgame media availability on Monday, he stated that he had to seriously think about his future, undoubtedly referencing retirement. James just completed his 20th season in the Association and continues to play at a high level, but is going to think about walking away from the game after falling short of the NBA Finals this year.
“He’s been a pretty good soldier for the game,” said Tom Milikan, morning show producer and assistant program director at 97.1 The Ticket. “There’s been some things I haven’t agreed with him [on] that he’s liked or tweeted or whatever. I think he’s had some ignorance, but I think that applies to every single athlete out there that’s great.”
Throughout his NBA career, James has been the subject of criticism. The ESPN special he participated in titled The Decision saw him reveal he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. He is also a frequent subject across the network’s programming, including on Get Up, First Take and NBA Today.
“I think we pick and choose with him,” Millikan said. “I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
Show co-host Mike Stone read messages from the 97.1 The Ticket text line during the show, many of which criticized James for being a “flopping” player desperate for any semblance of attention since he will not be in the NBA Finals. One text suggested his revelation of weighing retirement was done intentionally, surmising that he has a film documentary crew around him and coming back stronger than ever would make for a great story.
“The league needs some offseason stories,” Millikan said. “From what I know, the free agency class is not all that great this year – and one of the big names is Kyrie Irving, and that’s toxic. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, maybe they’re generating buzz or trying to do the whole Brady thing.’ So be it – I’ve seen it 15 times in my life.”
Stone recognized that athletes like James are genuinely once-in-a-generation type talents, and that his time in the NBA has been defined by more than what he has done on the court. James has also been an immense advocate for greater causes, including social issues, youth education and community affairs. Whenever he decides to call it a career though, fans should rest assured that James has truly given the game everything he has.
“I want to see the best that they have for as long as possible,” show co-host Jon Jansen said of star athletes. “If they end up playing too long, so be it. I don’t care. Then I know I’ve [seen] it all.”
Sports Radio News
Danny Parkins: NFL Teams ‘Don’t Really Care About Your In-Stadium Experience’
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it.”
On Monday at the NFL Owners’ Meetings, flex scheduling for Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football was approved 24-8. Games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17 with 28 days notice required. Additionally, a maximum of two games can be flexed per season, with the entire operation being on “a trial basis.”
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it,” said Danny Parkins on 670 The Score as the news broke Monday. “[The] first rule already happened, and the Bears are one of the teams that either benefit or are victimized by the rule depending on your interpretation. You can play on multiple Thursdays this year. You can’t play multiple road Thursdays, but the Bears have two Thursday night games – in Washington and home against Carolina.”
In an effort to broadcast compelling action on a national stage, the National Football League did not give all of its 32 teams at least one game on national television this season. Conversely, the New York Jets, complete with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be featured on national television for the maximum of six times, including two matchups on Thursday Night Football. The Jets, along with the Chicago Bears, dissented from voting in favor of flexible scheduling, but Parkins assumes it has nothing to do with the fans.
“My guess is [it is] because they already have two Thursday night games,” Parkins said. “Maybe they’re just altruistic and they care about fans and travel and all that, but I bet you that they said, ‘Well, we’re playing in Week 5 in Washington and Week 10 at home against Carolina. We don’t want to risk Bears-Browns or Bears-Falcons being flexed into Thursday Night Football later in the season and end up with three Thursday night games.’”
Many football fans and media professionals have pushed back on granting the property any type of flex scheduling because of the negative impact it has on injury prevention, something that is not as pronounced with other properties solely because of the day of the week. Sunday Night Football on NBC was previously the only property with flex scheduling ability, and Monday Night Football on ESPN is being granted that ability between Weeks 12 and 17 with at least 12 days notice.
“They don’t really care about your in-stadium experience – they don’t,” Parkins said of the league. “As long as you watch on TV, they’re thrilled because that’s where they make a huge, ungodly percentage of their money – more so than any of the other sports.”