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Under The Radar – March 21, 2018

Jason Barrett

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A few news items to pass along that you may not be aware of. A reminder, to have your brand or personal industry related news featured in a future UTR column please forward any pertinent information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here are the latest developments.

One of the best parts of this business is seeing good things happen to good people. That’s the case in Bristol, CT where ESPN Radio is losing one of their sharpest and most well rounded behind the scenes members to television. Ray Necci is giving up his multi-platform role with the radio network to help ESPN‘s new morning show “Get Up” featuring Mike Greenberg, Jalen Rose and Michelle Beadle. Necci will also work with SC:AM. Necci has spent close to nineteen years with ESPN Radio producing many of the network’s top programs and serving as a manager. His switch to television will benefit those he works closest with.

FOX Sports Radio Knoxville host Cody McClure became a topic of conversation in media circles recently after sounding off on Twitter about Sister Jean during the NCAA Tournament. After watching Tennessee get eliminated by Loyola-Chicago, McClure tweeted “F–k Sister Jean, everyone.” The tweet was noticed by Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde who took McClure to task and said he deserved to be terminated by his employer. The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, USA Today and numerous other outlets have since produced stories on the situation. McClure was not fired and said the tweet was a joke and a reflection of how Tennessee fans were feeling in the room that he was in following the tournament loss. McClure added that he’d gladly apologize to Sister Jean, but hoped she knew that his comments were delivered in joking fashion. McClure did ask “when is society going to be able to learn how to take a joke again?” He pointed out that people in real life joke about things that they wouldn’t post online, and it’s hypocritical.

Just when you’ve thought you’ve seen it all, something new transpires. That was the case in Tampa, FL where WDAE host JP Peterson found himself in the middle of an unexpected situation. While discussing the Tampa Bay Bucs’ free agent signing of Beau Allen with Chris Landry who had phoned in as a guest, the longtime football scout became perturbed with JP’s line of questioning and hung up on the Tampa sports radio host. Peterson said it was the first time in 10 years a guest had hung up on him. Did Landry have a valid reason to end the conversation or did he overreact? Take a listen and decide for yourself.

710 ESPN Seattle sports radio host and longtime NFL insider John Clayton was recently honored by his hometown of Braddock, PA. The town declared Sunday March 18th ‘John Clayton Day’. The sports media veteran was on hand to enjoy the festivities which included reconnecting with thirty people he grew up with.

In the Bay Area, 95.7 The Game has added Jerry Rice as a weekly contributor. The NFL legend who previously contributed to the station in 2014 will visit with Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal and Dan Dibley every Monday at 8am during the upcoming football season. Rice will also contribute to the station’s programming during the off-season and NFL Draft.

Matt Hammond is moving east. After spending the past few years contributing in a part-time role for Sports Radio 610 in Houston, Hammond is relocating to Philadelphia to take on a similar role at Sports Radio 94 WIP. Hammond says he’s looking forward to working in a tough sports market closer to home.

If you’ve followed the NFL or College Football for the past twenty years, specifically the Tennessee Titans or Florida Gators, you’ll likely remember Tight End Ben Troupe. He played for the Gators from 2000-2003 and was selected 40th overall by the Titans in the 2nd round of the 2004 NFL Draft. What you may not know is that Troupe has taken the plunge into the sports radio business. The former football player is now part of a three man show “Three and Out” which airs on ESPN Coastal. The Savannah Morning News did a nice profile piece on his entry into the business. You can read it by clicking here.

A tip of the cap is in order for the digital team at 104.3 The Fan in Denver. The station produced a series of videos looking at the Top 10 free agent signings in Denver Broncos history. Each video was well produced and featured discussion from The Fan’s on-air staff. It was a great example of taking a subject during a slower period of the year and creating content which served a benefit both on the air and in the social space. Kudos to Armen Williams and his crew. To watch the introductory video click here. You can also find the 10  signings videos by visiting the station’s YouTube page right here.

FM expansion is part of Neuhoff Media‘s plan for one of their local sports radio brands. ESPN 1450 WASK-AM in Lafayette, Indiana has been re-branded as 101.7 The Hammer. The station will now be heard on both 101.7FM and 1450AM.

A number of notable writers have announced their exits including Gary Meyers of the New York Daily News. Meyers spent the past 29 years with the New York newspaper and thanked the public for their support of his work via Twitter. No word yet on what Gary has planned next.

Jim Trotter is another supremely talented scribe who’s moving on to new endeavors. Trotter tweeted last week that his four year run at ESPN had come to an end. He hinted however at a new opportunity being announced soon.

In local circles, few sports radio hosts have embraced the dive into the podcast space like Scott Kaplan of the Mighty 1090 in San Diego. Since launching his solo project, Kaplan has talked to a number of people from different career fields, and although many episodes have been excellent, none have produced more real life emotion, passion and personal connection than Kaplan’s 12th episode which included a conversation with Andrew Pollack, the father of 18 year old Meadow Pollack who was gunned down and killed during the Parkland High School shootings. A former resident to the area himself, Kaplan traveled to Pollack’s home and sat down for a riveting conversation about one of the most challenging situations of his life. To hear the episode click here.

For those who enjoy Bomani Jones‘ work, the ESPN personality has announced his podcast will return on April 3rd. Stay tuned via social media for further details.

And in less pleasant news, The Jake Brown Show has gone away for now. The show was dropped due to Entercom taking over CBS and eliminating Radio.com podcasts in favor of their own network, Cadence13.

Sports Radio News

Mike Felger: Radio Row Allows Us to Do Something Different

“We don’t do a lot of guests…I don’t like having guests on. Let’s face it. Most guests don’t say anything anyway.”

Ricky Keeler

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When you are doing something you love as a job or when it gets very busy at your place of employment, the day can tend to go quicker than usual. While a four-hour show may seem like a long time to talk about sports, it can be the quickest part of the day for others. Mike Felger, the co-host of Felger and Mazz on 98.5 The Sports Hub, was a guest on The Press Box Podcast with Bryan Curtis this week and he said that the show is the quickest four hours of his day and it’s because of the prep that the guys put into the show.

“Quickest 4 hours of my day. It flies. We try to keep it moving, We put a lot into it. I think one of the reasons it goes quickly for me because we are pretty much working the whole time. We sort of map out the whole show before. All 16 segments, they are not scripted, but we will talk about this here, that there. We put something into all 16 segments.

“Mostly, if there is a game the night before, we will either have watched the game or portions of the game, we will have either watched or read the postgame press conferences, we will have read some of the coverage, and the trick there is to find something there that bugs you even if they won. What did you see in the game that you didn’t like? What did someone write that you thought was stupid or off the mark? Did someone say something that bothered you in the postgame? We put effort into the sports part of it and then we grind it out the next day. It goes quickly because we put a lot into it.”

The show is at the Super Bowl this week in Arizona as a part of Radio Row and Felger mentioned it allows the show to do something different since they don’t usually have guests on.

“For us, it’s a chance to get out of the studio, do something different, and talk to a few people. We are kind of a rare sports talk show where we don’t do a lot of guests. I don’t like having guests on. I don’t like phoners, I think it interrupts the momentum of a show, the flow of the show. Let’s face it. Most guests don’t say anything anyway.

“We don’t really do guests. We will go weeks at a time without a single phone guest or someone from outside the show. This sort of forces us to sit down and talk to some other people. It’s also just a change of scenery. We are also simulcast so it’s also a different backdrop, we are out of the studio. It’s just a little something different for us.”

While the show doesn’t have a lot of guests on, they will take a good amount of callers. With that being said, in Felger’s mind, the calls have to be quick and a good point has to be made for the show to have a good tempo.

“I like the way we do them. It’s 30 seconds. You get 30 seconds. At most, if it’s good, we will let you go to 45. It’s rare that a caller is on for a minute. If you suck, we will drop it at 12 seconds. It’s about tempo and pace of the show. I think calls are good if you go from one to the next to the next and they have to be good. If listeners can’t hear you, can’t do it. We have to hear you and you have to have a point. If you don’t have any of those things, I’m sorry, I love you, but you are gone.

“I think calls are valuable for how they pace the show. They bring tempo to the show if you do it quickly and pointedly.”

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Sports Radio News

ESPN 660 Orlando Officially Launches

“ESPN Radio offers the access to play-by-play, nationally known talent, and athletes that cannot be replicated.”

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ESPN Radio has returned to Orlando with the launch of ESPN 660 Orlando from JVC Broadcasting.

The shift officially took place this morning, with former “Florida Man Radio” — a “guy-talk” and politics format — being moved to an FM translator.

“ESPN Radio offers the access to play-by-play, nationally known talent, and athletes that cannot be replicated,” JVC Director of Programming Stevie Demann said. “ESPN 660 Orlando will air events like the Daytona 500 and the College Football Playoffs, giving radio listeners long-awaited access to these ‘must listen to’ sports, that previously were not available in Central Florida. We will have the largest selection of compelling sports content on ESPN 660 Orlando.”

The ESPN Radio brand was last seen in the market on 580 WDBO until it flipped to a news/talk format in June 2020.

“I’m thrilled with the partnership our Orlando team put together with ESPN Radio. ESPN 660 Orlando brings the biggest sporting events in the world to the Central Florida radio audience,” said JVC President and CEO John Caracciolo. “A market like Orlando is on the go all the time.  This is a great chance for our business partners to reach mobile sports fans across the region and giving radio listeners access to their favorite games on one radio station!”

ESPN 660 Orlando becomes the second sports station in the market, competing with iHeartMedia-owned 96.9 The Game, the flagship station for the Orlando Magic Radio Network.

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Sports Radio News

Toucher & Rich Continue Fake Liner Gag With Super Bowl Players

“There’s always a moment when their about three-fourths of the way down where they kind of look up at you like ‘What’s happening?'”

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Toucher and Rich

Super Bowl Opening Night is an eclectic mix of hardworking, serious journalists, mixed with interesting characters. It is safe to say 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich fall into the latter category.

As an ongoing gag, the show asks lower-profile players from the teams participating in the Super Bowl to record liners for their show. However, it isn’t for their show, it’s for fake shows that do not exist, with ridiculous taglines. The show’s Rich Shertenlieb said the premise is quite easy to pull off.

“Everyone is available for interview and only 11 people are at those big important podiums and everyone else just kind of wanders,” Shertenlieb — who is at Radio Row in Arizona while Fred Toucher remained in Boston — said. “You can just go up and speak to them and interview them.”

The first victim of the gag was Grant Calcaterra, a backup tight end for the Eagles. After a quick interview, Shertenlieb asked him to read a liner for a show that doesn’t exist.

“Hey this is Grant Calcaterra, and you’re listening to Captain Fiddlesticks and the Banjo Bandit. All aboard the hot take train. Woo Woo.”

“There’s always a moment when their about three-fourths of the way down where they kind of look up at you like ‘What’s happening?’ and then you just grab it and go ‘Thanks!’ and you walk away and find yourself buried in the crowd and hope they don’t see you again,” Shertenlieb said.

Tyrese Robinson, a rookie offensive lineman for the Eagles, was also recorded by the show.

“Hey this is Tyrese Robinson and you’re listening to Wilford Brimley and the Quaker Oats Kid. Want sports for breakfast? Why not? You’re already obese,” the Eagles rookie said.

“He caught on to your game,” Toucher said.

“By the time he got to ‘obese’, he just handed me the paper and walked away,” added Shertenlieb.

Eagles safety Reed Blankenship was interviewed by Shertenlieb, where he was asked to record a liner reading “Hey this is Reed Blankenship and you’re listening to Nard Farnsworth and Bill the Sad Hobo on 98.3 The Goat. It’s hobo-rific.”

“That is a guy that did not think you were kidding,” joked Toucher.

Another Eagles offensive lineman — Andre Dillard — was quickly interviewed by Shertenlieb. The 98.5 The Sports Hub host asked Dillard to read “Hey this is Andre Dillard and you’re listening to The DA Show. Hope you like feet,” to which Dillard responded “Wait, what?!” while reading the line. “Because DA really likes feet. Foot-tastic.”

One of the higher profile players the show recorded was Eagles backup quarterback Gardner Minshew, who incorrectly pronounced one of the words in the read.

“Hey this is Gardner Minshew and you’re listening to The Syracuse Guys, dudes in suites (sic) with nice teeth. We love lukewarm takes, safe hip hop, and The Bachelor.”

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