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Morning Men Head To LA For FALifornia

“Dubbed “FALifornia,” with Russo out, SiriusXM sent Morning Men hosts, Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik to their new Los Angeles studios for the week, where they took over Nick Wright’s usual timeslot.”

Brandon Contes

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When the namesake of Mad Dog Radio is off-air for a week, you’d expect the SiriusXM channel to wait for his return before trying anything too creative. Instead, Mad Dog Radio, Steve Cohen, Steve Torre and all of the SiriusXM bosses used Christopher Russo’s absence as an opportunity to grow their morning show.

Dubbed “FALifornia,” with Russo out, SiriusXM sent Morning Men hosts, Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik to their new Los Angeles studios for the week, where they took over Nick Wright’s usual timeslot. Wright, meanwhile,  filled in for Russo’s Mad Dog Unleashed.

“I’m a dorky old school radio guy and conceptually what SiriusXM did in saying ‘let’s not look at Dog being out as a disadvantage, but how do way take advantage of it?’ Again it involves us, so maybe I’m a little biased, but I think it’s really smart,” Morning Men co-host Evan Cohen said while speaking to BSM.

They’re a growing brand on the platform, but as a national show airing from 6 – 10am ET, it’s hard to expect a big West Coast following for Evan and Babs when they regularly hit the airwaves at 3am PT. Still, the reaction to Morning Men heading to the West Coast was filled with excitement. 

Further, when Evan and Babs announced they would broadcast Friday in-front of a studio audience, there was a big response from West Coast’s most loyal listeners, dubbed “the FALS,” who wanted to be there, a testament to the job SiriusXM does in promoting the show.

“Our show is on from 3am – 7am Pacific Time and it goes to show that SiriusXM has done such a good job with the app and on-demand product for people to listen to it when it’s not live,” Cohen said when speaking of their West Coast listeners.

To make their trip happen, Evan and Babs also needed a willingness from other hosts on the channel to work around an adjusted schedule. SiriusXM personalities Lisa Ann and Rick Kamla helped out during mornings on Mad Dog Radio. And with Wright taking over Russo’s Mad Dog Unleashed, normally Patrick Meagher moves from his 8 – 11pm show into the 6 – 8pm timeslot, but he had no problem reneging. 

“Patrick is a big fan of ours and we’re a big fan of his,” Cohen said. “We’ve developed a really good friendship with him, and his being egoless in knowing he could move up to a different timeslot for the week, but instead saying ‘those are my friends it’s a big opportunity for them, I’m giving them that slot’ is amazing.”

For Morning Men, the evening timeslot allowed them to connect with West Coast listeners, but they also had to adjust to a condensed show for the week. Half the time with double the guests. 

Taking advantage of being on the West Coast, Evan and Babs welcomed L.A. related guests throughout the week that included SiriusXM mainstays Covino and Rich, ESPN host Jorge Sedano, actors Tom Arnold, Ian Ziering, J.B. Smoove, R&B singer Joe, and entertainment star Joel McHale among others.

“Do we do guests, or do we interact with the audience?” Cohen said they debated regarding their live show last Friday to conclude their FALifornia week. 

A live studio audience is something radio shows don’t get a lot of opportunities to have. Some hosts are better in front of a live audience, they feed off the crowd to create natural entertainment. Mike Babchik happens to be one of those hosts, who’s unfiltered style resonates with a crowd. Evan and Babs chose to let the audience be part of their Friday broadcast, focusing on their FALs, more than guests. 

“It was a calculated smart risk by SiriusXM,” Cohen said of the company’s decision to send them to Los Angeles. “In terms of the creativity in the lineup, the buzz it created, exposing our show to the West Coast, giving other people opportunities in other slots and making something out of nothing in many ways – they deserve a lot of credit.”

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.

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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