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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – August 15, 2018

Jason Barrett

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There’s been a flurry of sports media activity to catch you up on. This column contains a total of 23 items, and if you’d like your brand or individual news to be included in a future column, all you need to do is pass along the details by email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now here’s the latest!

A new Senior Producer has been hired by ESPN Radio to work with Mike Golic and Trey Wingo. Evan Wilner is Bristol bound after spending the past eight years working for SiriusXM in Washington DC. He’s expected to get started at the network sometime this month.

Well wishes go out to Mike Evans of 104.3 The Fan in Denver. The morning host who works opposite Mark Schlereth has missed time on the air due to undergoing heart surgery. Evans is said to be recovering well but needs time to heal before returning to the airwaves.

Boston sports radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub celebrated its 9th year on the air this week. Congratulations to Mike Thomas and his team on their latest achivement.

Congratulations to John Martin and Jason Smith who had their options picked up to continue as 92.9 ESPN‘s midday show in Memphis. The program has been a consistent ratings success for the station since being added to the schedule two years ago.

After seven years working for SiriusXM‘s NASCAR Radio channel, Jim Noble has left to become Wofford College‘s play by play voice for football and basketball games. Noble posted a note on Twitter expressing his appreciation to those he worked with and covered, and said he’ll still pick up some fill-in assignments on SiriusXM, and appear at the track for PRN broadcasts, but his focus now will shift to his new role with Wofford.

93.7 The Fan in San Diego morning host Dan Sileo is getting a chance to do a little bit of national hosting this fall. Sileo is scheduled to fill in a few times for Jim Rome on the CBS Sports Radio Network. Dates are still to be announced.

Along with the addition of Lauren Rew, 1010XL in Jacksonville made a few other moves as well. The radio station recently added Tera Lageman to Frank Frangie‘s afternoon show. Lagemam has worked in television in Chicago, Gainesville and Greensboro. She assumes the role formerly held by Lauren Brooks who moved to mornings joining Dan Hicken and Jeff Prosser on The Drill. The radio station has also added Joe Cowart and Ryan Green to its weeknight schedule. The duo debuted their new program 1010XL PrimeTime on Monday August 13th.

WWL in New Orleans is adding Steve Geller as its new sideline reporter on Saints games. Geller replaces Kristian Garic who enjoyed a nine year run in the role. Garic remains with the station transitioning to pregame and postgame where he’ll host alongside Bobby Hebert.

Speaking of football, Mike Wickett is returning to the sports radio airwaves this fall as the Chiefs pre and post game co-host on 610 Sports. Wickett currently hosts on 98.1 KMBZ in Kansas City. Prior to moving into the NewsTalk arena he hosted mornings in Milwaukee with Chuck Freimund on 105.7 The Fan.

Former Miami Herald writer and 790 The Ticket host Ethan Skolnick continues to make progress with his new venture the Five Reasons Sports Network. The digital audio brand is partnering with WSVN-7 and WFOR-4 on a few projects, and has begun adding staff to ramp up its coverage of the Dolphins and Heat entering the fall. Five Reasons is also hosting a public event at the Texas Roadhouse in Miramar on Friday August 17th. Not bad for a startup which is just four months in.

All the best to Jason “Pod Vader” Soderberg who was unexpectedly let go as BlogTalk Radio‘s Head of Content. Soderberg spent the past four years with BlogTalk following a sixteen year run at ESPN Radio. He’s looking for his next opportunity. Interested parties can reach him by email by clicking here.

Congratulations goes out to Maura Sheridan on being named the new play by play voice of Vermont Women’s Basketball, and Clay Ables who has been named the Director of the Red Devil Network and Sports Department at WJHI in Indiana.

From the television world, NBC Sports Philadelphia has chosen not to renew the contract of sports media veteran Rob Ellis. Ellis spent 17 years with the company, working his way up from behind the scenes to becoming an anchor and part of CSN/NBC’s morning show.  Although Ellis’ television future is in flux for the moment, he can still be heard in Philadelphia on Sports Radio WIP.

Further north in Boston, Mike Giardi has left NBC Sports Boston after a lengthy run. The reason? Giardi has been hired by the NFL Network. His primary focus according to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe will be to cover the New England Patriots.

An addition is being made in Seattle, where KING 5 News is adding former Seattle Seahawk and HOF tackle Walter Jones to its 5th Quarter show. Jones will work alongside sports anchor Paul Silvi.

After 20 years at SportsNet, Daren Millard has announced his departure. He explained via Twitter that the decision to leave the company was one that involved many factors, soul searching, and layers of emotion, but in the end he wanted to pursue a new challenge. No word yet on what Millard has planned next.

The exits continue, this time In Milwaukee, where Telly Hughes has learned he won’t be returning to Milwaukee Bucks television broadcasts. Hughes was relieved of his duties after covering the team for nearly a decade. The franchise told Hughes they were interested in pursuing a different direction. What that will be remains to be seen.

Jordan Strack has been elevated to the position of Sports Director at WTOL in Toledo, Ohio. Strack becomes the 4th SD in station history.

Stadium continues to ramp up its programming and talent roster. Chris Hassel is said to be joining the digital brand to call 10 games this season alongside AJ Hawk and Kristen Balboni. Congrats to all involved.

In writing circles, Chris Biderman has left the USA Today Sports Media Group where he ran the Niners Wire in order to cover the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee. Biderman called the new opportunity to write for a newspaper a lifelong dream and said he looks forward to adding his work to a space which Matt Barrows has helped make special.

The Washington Post has hired Ben Strauss to cover sports and media. Strauss will begin his new assignment for the newspaper starting in September.

It’s another busy period for The Athletic who have added former NFL linebacker turned sports media personality Kirk Morrison as a contributor to their San Francisco bureau. Vincent Bonsignore has exited the Southern California News Group to join The Athletic’s Los Angeles outlet. And in Sacramento, Jason Jones is signing on in September to contribute to the platform’s coverage of the Sacramento Kings.

And last but not least, SB Nation has added Natalie Weiner as a staff writer.

Sports Radio News

Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo: I Don’t Do As Much Prep As You Think

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris “Mad Dog” Russo would much rather go with the flow for his radio show than try and put everything together ahead of time and hope it comes out well.

Russo was the featured guest on the Golf Digest podcast The Loop, and hosts Christopher Powers, Alex Myers and Steve Hennessey first congratulated Mad Dog on his induction into the Radio Hall of Fame last year. Russo mentioned how he had written a short speech but decided against that after seeing the other inductees run long with their speeches.

Mad Dog was asked about preparing for his SiriusXM sports talk show every day, and he said he really doesn’t put a ton of work into putting a show together.

“On certain days a little more, because on Mondays I do that NFL recap so that takes a little while to put that together at 5 o’clock – probably a couple of hours,” Russo said. “Outside of that not as much as you’d think. I mean obviously I’m gonna follow what’s going on.”

“Sometimes the radio show is a lot better when it’s a little more spontaneous and you can craft it in your imagination as the day moves along, instead of having it programmed in front of you,” he added. “This segment do this, this segment do that. Sometimes when you sort of ad lib it, and you figure it out as you’re moving the program into the second hour and the third hour, it’s a better show.”

Mad Dog talked about how he likes that his radio show is the reverse of when he does First Take on ESPN or High Heat on MLB Network. He likes not having a rundown packed to the gills for his radio show.

“The radio is more of a host’s medium,” he said. “So it’s up to me what we’re going to do.”

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Sports Radio News

Stetson Bennett IV Fires Back at Steak Shapiro Over Parade Criticism

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Georgia walloped TCU last week to win their second straight national championship, and the Bulldog community came together toward the end of the week to celebrate with a parade.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV took part in the parade, but 92.9 The Game host Steak Shapiro wasn’t thrilled with how Bennett acted during the celebration.

Shapiro on Tuesday took a shot at Bennett, who appeared to spend some time fiddling with a cell phone during the parade.

Tuesday night, Bennett responded first with a quote tweet.

Bennett followed that up with a longer statement he posted under his quote tweet explaining the situation.

“I appreciate your concern with my image/intentions/loyalties/obligations (as well as your willingness to reach out to me to confirm them),” Bennett wrote. “You obviously thought quite deeply about some motives I might’ve had.”

Bennett said ultimately he was trying to soak up the moment with his teammates, and he was just trying to make sure the celebratory mood was set with the right music on his phone.

“So to finish it off nice and neat: I was controlling the aux and playing bangers so sed and Chris and I could have a blast on our last ride into Sanford,” he said. “That’s pretty much the gist of it.”

Bennett finished with a little dig of his own at Shapiro.

“P.s.: I don’t like you very much mr Steak “and shake” Shapiro,” he said. “But to be fair, I’m not a fan of your work either.”

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Sports Radio News

Ryan Edwards Moves to The Sports Zoo on KOA

“Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.”

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Ryan Edwards is staying with KOA, but his hours are about to change. The Denver sports radio staple is moving off of Broncos Country Tonight to join Alfred Williams and Dave Logan on The Sports Zoo in afternoon drive.

“I am thrilled to join radio and football legends Dave Logan and Alfred Williams on The KOA Sports Zoo,” Edwards said in a press release. “I look forward to bringing a fans’ perspective to the Denver Broncos and all things Denver sports.”

Edwards has been on the radio in Denver since 2009. He spent eight years with 104.3 The Fan. He also did a short stint at Mile High Sports Radio.

He joined iHeart Denver in 2017. He was on Orange & Blue 760 before the company replaced the station with a conservative talk format. He moved to KOA in 2019, where he has worked on Broncos Country Tonight with Benjamin Albright.

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