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Spike Eskin: I’m Not Making Major Changes At WFAN

WFAN’s new vice president of programming began his tenure on July 1.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ

Spike Eskin is WFAN’s new vice president of programming, but don’t expect him to bust down the doors and make radical changes. Newsday’s Neil Best discussed the new position with Eskin as he transitions from his program director role at WIP in Philadelphia.

The 44-year-old took over for the legendary Mark Chernoff on July 1 and is ready to make small, meaningful changes that will be more noticeable down the line.

“I would tell listeners nothing that I do, no decision that I make, I don’t think will be big-splash type decisions,” Spike Eskin told Newsday. “The radio station doesn’t demand that right now. When I took over WIP, we were in a really bad place, in a really compromised place. It was a radio station that needed drastic decisions. I don’t think WFAN is in that position.”

Eskin is focused on building strong relationships in the building over the next few months.

“I don’t think that would be showing a ton of respect to the people that are there who are succeeding right now,” he said. “So I would be confident in saying that if you look back in a year or two, you will see a stamp that I have made on the radio station, but it won’t be something that you wake up and say, ‘Wow! That’s different!’”

WFAN has come to define top-notch sports talk radio after introducing the format in the 80s. Now, Eskin is focused on transitioning that success to the digital space.

“Seeing Craig [Carton] and Evan [Roberts] playing wiffle ball in the hallways, that’s something that you can’t do on the air, and even if you describe it, it doesn’t work,” Eskin said. “But as you take a video of it and expose it to people as this extra thing, I think it creates texture and it connects you in a different way at a different time than you are able to do on the air.”

Check out the full interview with Spike Eskin here.

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Kentucky and Missouri Stations Switch Formats, Add FOX Sports Radio

Withers switched the two stations to sports talk from oldies and classic country.

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports radio listeners in western Kentucky and southeast Missouri can rejoice, thanks to a recent decision by Withers Broadcasting to switch formats.

Folks in the Paducah area of Kentucky can now find FOX Sports Radio on 95.9 FM, while listeners in Cape Girardeau, Missouri can find FSR on 97.3.

Withers switched the two stations to sports talk from oldies and classic country.

Among the lineup of hosts that can be heard on the stations include Dan Patrick, Colin Cowherd, Jason Smith, Ben Maller and Outkick 360 hosted by Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow, and Paul Kuharsky.

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Kevin McNamara to Host Two-Hour Show on 790 The Score in Rhode Island

“I think, because it’s new, I’d encourage people to give it a shot,” McNamara said. “It will be very different from the Boston-based sports radio that we’ve become used to.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Kevin McNamara

Two months after announcing its triumphant return to the Rhode Island airwaves, Sports Radio 790 The Score is set to go live next week.

And in addition to the station’s lineup of national hosts and sports betting shows, former Providence Journal writer Kevin McNamara will be hosting the station’s only local show.

McNamara will host his show from 5-7 pm, sandwiched between You Better You Bet and Bet MGM Tonight.

McNamara, who hosted a one-hour show on WPRO, saw his time extended an hour. He said this is a great opportunity to get listeners involved early.

“In one hour I tried to be as newsy as I could,” McNamara told Bill Koch of The Providence Journal. “It’s basically a three-segment show — we’d try to have three different subjects. Now we’ll try to hit those three different subjects, but we’ll have a real avenue for calls.” 

The second hour of McNamara’s show will be simulcasted on WPRO.

The Score, which was last on the air in the market in 2008, will carry Providence men’s basketball, Brown men’s basketball and football, the New England Patriots, the Boston Celtics and the New York Yankees.

The station hopes to eat at some of the market share in Rhode Island currently held by both Boston sports stations, WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

“I think, because it’s new, I’d encourage people to give it a shot,” McNamara said. “It will be very different from the Boston-based sports radio that we’ve become used to.”

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Joel Utley, College Basketball’s Record Holder for Most Games Called, Retires

Utley retires after 61 years as the team’s basketball play-by-play announcer which is a college basketball record.

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Joel Utley

Joel Utley has announced he is retiring from broadcasting and as the voice of the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers.

Utley retires after 61 years as the team’s basketball play-by-play announcer which is a college basketball record. He broadcast 1,933 Kentucky Wesleyan games during that span, also a record for total games called. He began his career on December 2, 1961 when KWC defeated California State University – Northridge, 100-64. 

Utley also is the only broadcaster in the nation to call 12 NCAA Basketball Championship games (all levels) including eight Division II titles.

Joel Utley interviewing Rupp

“It was a tough decision to make, but the timing is right to step down,” Utley said. “What I have done as a broadcaster reflects my love for KWC. My career has been beyond any dreams I ever had.”

He is a member of the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame and in September, Utley will be inducted into the Kentucky Broadcaster Association Hall of Fame.

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