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Howard Stern Says Al Michaels Should Tell Viewers to Get Vaccinated, Rips NBC

“I think it’s a big f—ing error. It’s just like New England letting Brady go. Dude, I don’t get it.”

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Leading up to what could be his final Super Bowl telecast in a long, accomplished broadcast career, Al Michaels has appeared on a variety of media outlets to look back at his years of calling The Big Game for ABC and NBC.

On Tuesday, that “farewell tour,” if that’s what to call it, stopped at The Howard Stern Show. Anyone who’s listened to Stern over the decades or appeared for an interview knows that the infamous radio personality could touch on any topic and take the conversation in many different directions. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when Stern put Michaels on the spot.

First, Stern voiced his disbelief that NBC could possibly let Michaels go when his contract expires after Super Bowl LVI. The expectation throughout the sports media industry is that the veteran broadcaster will move to Amazon to call play-by-play for Thursday Night Football.

“Really? NBC is gonna let you walk out the door?” Stern said to Michaels (via Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina). “I think it’s a big f—ing error. It’s just like New England letting Brady go. Dude, I don’t get it. I think I’m in shock. This is bulls—. Everyone loves you. You’re doing great. What are they changing things up for? You got the No. 1 show.”

As could be expected, Michaels didn’t take the opportunity to criticize NBC. He didn’t feel “betrayed,” as Stern speculated, and went on to explain the thinking.

“I feel that the decision was made predicated on making sure there was a succession plan in place,” said Michaels.

Looking back, it’s entirely possible this is a plan Michaels thought was a good idea until getting to this point and realizing he still had plenty left as a broadcaster and might want to continue at NBC.

But if Michaels thought he was off the hook after evading Stern’s attempts to goad him into ripping his NBC bosses, the conversation eventually moved to another topic: the COVID-19 vaccine. With a worldwide audience of 100 million, Stern implored Michaels to encourage viewers to get vaccinated.

Listen to the clip from Mediaite (via The Big Lead):

“Do you ever feel, and I know with sports you can’t be controversial,” said Stern. “No one’s there to hear your opinion; I get all that. But Al, please — when you’re on there and you got 100 million people, tell them to get vaccinated for Christ’s sake, you know what I mean?”

Michaels didn’t take the bait there, either.

“You’re right when people tune in to watch the game, they want to watch the game,” Michaels said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on in sports around the game.”

We don’t know what Michaels’ stance is on getting vaccinated and aren’t likely to find out since it’s such an inflammatory topic for some viewers. However, Michaels did make his irritation over having to wear a mask on the air apparent during a 2020 Eagles-49ers broadcast. A Santa Clara county mandate required it.

“We’re good boys, though,” Michaels said during the NBC telecast. “We’re going to get lollipops at the end of the game tonight.” He later added that he’d ditch the mask as soon as Sunday Night Football signed off.

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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