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Chicago Sports Radio Pioneer Jerry Kuc Dies

“Kuc’s sports radio career began in 1983 when WMAQ hired him as a morning sports anchor. By the next year, he had his own show on the station, talking sports on Sunday nights.”

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Jerry Kuc was hosting sports talk radio in Chicago long before names like Score or ESPN 1000 were in the game. He was recognized as a mentor by Dan McNeil. The city’s sports media scene would not have been the same without him.

His son Chris told The Chicago Tribune that Jerry Kuc died yesterday at the age of 82.

In addition to life on the radio, Kuc also made his mark in newspapers and on television. He began working for the Associated Press in the mid-1960s. His first TV job was with WBBM. He would go on to work for 3 other stations in the market.

Kuc’s sports radio career began in 1983 when WMAQ hired him as a morning sports anchor. By the next year, he had his own show on the station, talking sports on Sunday nights. He also anchored NBC Radio’s national sports reports.

The next stop for Jerry Kuc was WSEX. The music station carried his show The Sports Digest beginning in 1988 and kept it even as the station changed formats in 1989. He would go on to host part time and serve as a reporter for the station that eventually became ESPN 1000.

“I was 26 and had no game as a host, and I was getting air time Jerry rightfully thought should have been his. And in this business steeped in ego and petty jealousies, all he did was encourage me and mentor me,” Dan McNeil said of Jerry Kuc. “He assisted in my development booking guests and he introduced me to everybody.”

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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Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason: Michael Kay ‘Swooping In’ On Stephen Nelson ‘Just Not Right’

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

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Boomer Esiason

Much has been made about the potential of New York Yankees television play-by-play announcer Michael Kay announcing Friday Night Baseball on AppleTV+ while slugger Aaron Judge chases the franchise and American League record for home runs in a single season. During Boomer & Gio Friday morning, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti disagreed on whether Kay should have taken the gig from usual AppleTV+ announcer Stephen Nelson.

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

“I bet he put that out there to see what the reaction would be,” Giannotti said of Kay’s comments that he would be “big-footing” Nelson by taking the assignment. “And the reaction was like that, and was like ‘You know, I’m kinda uncomfortable doing this. Maybe I shouldn’t do it’. And no one wanted to see it anyway.”

“They shouldn’t do it,” said Esiason of AppleTV+ allowing Kay to step in for Nelson.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, and let’s say it was Pete Alonso chasing this record and there was AppleTV for potentially 61 or 62, you’re telling me that you’d want a fella named (Stephen) Nelson over Gary Cohen? There’s no way in hell!”, Giannotti countered.

“I want what’s right,” Esiason said.

“AppleTV’s not right to begin with,” Giannotti replied.

“But Michael Kay swooping in on some kid named Nelson, that’s not right. That’s just not right. You just can’t do that!”, argued Esiason.

“Yeah, but the fact that it’s on AppleTV to begin with is annoying,” Giannotti concluded. “It’s just annoying.”

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: AppleTV+ Shouldn’t Have Answered The Phone For YES Network Trade

“This is when I get to bring new people and new eyeballs to my streaming service. And I’m sure they’ll have more signups than they’ve had almost any other day of the week.”

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Craig Carton

A report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post claimed YES Network, owned in-part by the New York Yankees, made several offers to AppleTV+ in regards to its scheduled broadcast of the Yankees and Boston Red Sox as Aaron Judge chases the franchise and American League record for home runs in a single season. WFAN host Craig Carton was dumbfounded by the proposals.

Carton originally blamed the Yankees greed for the game airing on AppleTV+, before co-host Evan Roberts set him straight.

“Because the New York Yankees sold their rights to everybody with a blank check in front of them, they are now faced with the reality that their greed is gonna result in a momentous, historical moment not being broadcast by their broadcast team,” Carton said.

“If you wanna blame every owner, and say ‘Hey, you all signed off on it’, I understand where you’re coming from on this. But Major League Baseball made the decision to cut a deal with AppleTV+,” Roberts countered.

Carton then pointed out how preposterous the idea was for YES Network to either air the game in conjunction with AppleTV+, or for Yankees television play-by-play announcer — and New York afternoon radio competitor — Michael Kay to call the game for the streaming platform.

“Memo to YES, and the New York Yankees, who own a piece of the YES Network: If I’m AppleTV+ — and whatever that check was that I wrote, it was big — this is the moment for me,” Carton said. “This is when I get to bring new people and new eyeballs to my streaming service. And I’m sure they’ll have more signups than they’ve had almost any other day of the week. If you’re AppleTV+, why would you even answer the phone if the YES Network calls?”

“Sometimes a guy calls you in Fantasy sports and says ‘I want your best player’, and you don’t even make a counter offer because you’re like ‘There’s literally nothing on your roster that would make me agree to this trade’,” Roberts hypothesized. “If I’m AppleTV+ — let’s play the negotiation game — is there anything that could be offered to you that would make you give up the exclusivity?”

“No! That’s what you paid for!”, Carton exclaimed. “Great luck! It worked out where you’re most likely gonna have a game on AppleTV+ where something historical is might happen!”

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