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Sports Radio News

Harrison Explains Process Of Releasing Hill Audio

“In an attempt to gain clearance for the recording, Harrison reached out to Tyreek Hill’s attorney, agent, the Johnson County District Attorney and the Overland Park Police Department, but neither would verify the audio.”

Brandon Contes

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Usually sports radio hosts are in the business of forming opinions on available evidence, but sometimes being a journalist takes precedence as they gather their own information.  

For over a month, Carrington Harrison of Kansas City’s 610 Sports Radio held a recording of the full 11-minute recorded conversation between Chiefs wide-receiver Tyreek Hill and his fiancée, Crystal Espinal privately discussing domestic abuse allegations.  The tape, released by 610 Sports earlier this week may have swayed the court of public opinion about Hill’s alleged involvement, but for Harrison the process of releasing the audio wasn’t easy.

Unable to share how he received the audio, Harrison did acknowledge he wasn’t holding onto it by choice.  Although saving it for the dog days of summer helped create content during a slow period for sports, the time-frame for when to release the 11-minute recording was not dictated by Harrison.  Acquiring the audio on June 7th, Harrison and 610 Sports didn’t receive clearance to release the recording until Monday July 8th at 4:40pm CST.

“I was explicitly told if I went against our legal team’s orders to not play the tape, it would be violating a direct order for my superiors,” Harrison told me.

In an attempt to gain clearance for the recording, Harrison reached out to Tyreek Hill’s attorney, agent, the Johnson County District Attorney and the Overland Park Police Department, but neither would verify the audio.  It was not until these efforts were exhausted that Entercom, which owns 610 Sports, stepped in and paid for the audio to be independently verified last week.

“I personally went to Hill’s attorney to speak with him.  He would not meet with me,” Harrison said, noting he was told to set an appointment which they declined when he attempted to do so.  Harrison even had his personal attorney contact the DA, but he too would not verify the audio.

During the course of the last month, Harrison never believed any other media outlet had access to the tape and would release it before 610 Sports gained clearance to do so.  Kansas City’s CBS affiliate, KCTV5 publicly shared excerpts from the 11-minute recording in April, but declined to release it in full.  Since the full recording was made public, some have questioned why KCTV5 and their news director, Casey Clark chose select clips to release back in April.

“I couldn’t live with myself if we had taken a chunk of something like that and given life forever,” Clark said on-air, referring specifically to the part of the recording where Hill told Espinal he didn’t want to have children.  “I just felt like it was best for us if we took the parts that were relevant, put them on the news.”   

When I asked Harrison if he had any moral hesitations about releasing the full recording knowing the potential firestorm it would create, the radio host said, “I had a few, but they did not slow down the process of playing the audio and getting it authenticated.”

Whether or not releasing the full audio vs only select clips paints Tyreek Hill in a different light is up to the court of public opinion.  For Harrison, it was important to put in the necessary work to give the public that option of forming their own opinion with the available evidence.

Carrington Harrison and Sean Levine host The Drive on 610 Sports every weekday from 2 – 6pm.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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