As Super Bowl Sunday draws closer by the minute, various sports radio stations from around the country have taken their broadcasts on the road to Radio Row to interview guests, catch up with old friends, and feel the anticipation and excitement before kickoff.
This year’s matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams marks the first time the city of Los Angeles has hosted the Super Bowl since 1993 when the Dallas Cowboys won the championship at the Rose Bowl. Additionally, the Rams will try to become the first Los Angeles-based team to win a Super Bowl since the John Madden-led Los Angeles Raiders took home the championship in 1983.
With some signs of normalcy beginning to return throughout society, the buzz in the “City of Angels” is quite palpable both inside and outside of the area. Ryan Clark, a former NFL safety and current analyst on ESPN, joined The Pat & Aaron Show on 95.3 WDAE Tampa Bay, and spoke about the atmosphere not only surrounding “The Big Game” on Sunday, but also that of the week as a whole.
“It’s absolutely bonkers – it truly is,” said Clark, who won a Super Bowl championship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. “You can see how excited everyone is… to at least almost feel normal. Other than the masks, we get to move around and convene and have different events like we normally do.”
Clark has always cherished the week leading up to the Super Bowl for the opportunities it gives people to see one another and reconnect. However, as a player, the focus is squarely on what happens on the gridiron Sunday. The game brings about conflicting interests. That is, a cultural phenomenon with league events, media coverage, and parties surrounding the most meaningful and decisive football game of the year.
“It’s about getting chances to see people you haven’t seen in years, or see people you haven’t seen in a year, and really enjoy what this is,” explained Clark. “It’s the biggest sporting event in the world. We have seven games in the NBA Finals, you have seven games for the World Series, but this is only one chance, one opportunity, and you got to savor every moment.”
On Thursday, Clark visited Radio Row himself, taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, to experience the plethora of live broadcasts and to be interviewed by other stations.
“[There are] so many different people from so many different countries and [so many] opportunities to get athletes on,” said Clark. “It was really good to get back in that type of atmosphere.”
Clark, along with NFL legends Dan Marino and Eli Manning, recently starred in a new advertisement for Stella Artois titled “The Stella Substitutes,” in which they give bartenders tickets to Super Bowl LVI in exchange for filling in for the bartenders’ scheduled shifts.
“Tyrone is a bartender out here in L.A., [and] I got an opportunity to surprise him with tickets,” said Clark. “What we’ve gone through the last two years, people [have] not [been] able to truly enjoy life like we’re used to. We want to make sure that people are getting opportunities to share great moments with the people that they love, and so he’s going to get an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl.”
Show co-host Pat Donovan was curious to know how many beers Clark’s ESPN colleague Mike Greenberg could drink “before he would be in the tank.” His response:
“A half a beer. [Greeny’s] one of the softest humans I’ve ever been around. I’m pretty sure Greeny would be one of those people that says beer has too harsh of a taste to actually drink and enjoy. He’s more like a very light dessert wine kind of guy.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he serves as the production manager for the New York Islanders Radio Network and lead sports producer at NY2C. He has also worked on live game broadcasts for the Long Island Nets and New York Riptide. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks and wrote for The Long Island Herald. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Joe DeCamara & Jon Ritchie Reveal Contributors To New WIP Morning Show
“Angelo for many, many years has had a wonderful team. And obviously we’re indebted to what he did for all the years putting everything together.”
The Philadelphia Eagles postseason run will determine how much longer Angelo Cataldi hosts his morning show on 94 WIP. While hosts Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie wait in the wings to take the reins from Angelo, they took time on Wednesday to reveal the rest of the cast of contributors and fill-in hosts for the new WIP morning show.
“Angelo for many, many years has had a wonderful team. And obviously we’re indebted to what he did for all the years putting everything together,” DeCamara said. “We want to just sort of duplicate it at a similar level of success and longevity. And to do that you want to put together a group that you really believe in and want to have a great shot with and entertain people for years.”
DeCamara and Ritchie revealed that longtime morning contributors Rhea Hughes and Joe Weachter will continue to serve in their capacities. DeCamara said he’s excited to work with such a tenured producer and have him and producer James Seltzer collaborate.
“Everybody cares about Joe, because he’s been such a huge part of Angelo’s show for so many years behind the scenes as the producer,” DeCamara said. “He’s gonna be producing this show in addition to helping James out. And we got ambitious plans for social media and ways we can get Joe involved in all sorts of ways to help present our show to the public. So that’ll be a big part of it.”
WIP newcomer Devan Kaney will also be a regular on the morning show. DeCamara also announced Philly sports media legend Ray Didinger will also be heard at certain points.
As for insiders and contributors to discussions on the Philly sports teams, it was announced former Phillies TV analyst Ruben Amaro, former Phils announcer Ben Davis, former Eagles linebacker Seth Joyner and Ron Jaworski will be in the lineup.
Ritchie said having someone like Amaro on to talk baseball is going to be a great chance to soak up as much knowledge as possible.
“You know so much, and I feel like I’m gonna learn so much from you,” he said. “And I think we’re all so fortunate.”
Additionally, comedian Joe Conklin will be added to keep things lively and fun.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Steak Shapiro Apologizes, Says He Didn’t Think Stetson Bennett Criticism Was ‘That Inflamatory’
“You were just trying to play music and not ignore the fans. Still don’t think it was a great speech, but again, you’re the biggest football hero in Georgia football history.”
Wednesday’s edition of The Steakhouse was one Atlanta sports fans were waiting for. Late Tuesday night, Steak Shapiro took to Twitter to promise that he would address Stetson Bennett IV’s reaction to his criticism of the way the quarterback behaved at Georgia’s National Championship parade on Saturday.
“The notion is that Steak was basically roasted,” he said of the coverage the social media spat received. “He was put on the grill and taken to task.”
Shapiro had tweeted that he did not think it was a good look for Bennett to be on his phone during the championship parade and that his speech seemed more about settling old grudges than it was about celebrating the team or the fans. In a message on Twitter, which began by addressing Shapiro as “Mr. Med Rare”, Bennett explained that he was using his phone to play music in the car he was riding in. He was not ignoring the moment or the fans.
After giving Bennett credit for coming up with a funny nickname, Steak Shapiro said that he was surprised that the quarterback took the criticism so personally.
“My job is to give an opinion. I didn’t think it was that inflammatory. I didn’t think it was that dramatic.”
He added that has no problem with Stetson’s disdain for the media. He just thought the parade should have been about the fans and the accomplishment rather than Stetson Bennett IV trying to settle old grudges. Still, Shapiro wanted to make it clear that he does not hate the Georgia quarterback. He remains one of Bennett’s most vocal fans.
“On three or four occasions, I was lambasted because I said I thought he was the greatest player in Georgia history, and I said that before he won the national title,” Shapiro said. “I said that when they had the undefeated regular season, and then people started saying ‘stop saying that about Stetson’ or ‘Stetson’s overrated’. I just kinda had his back the entire year and probably had his back the last two years. I just didn’t think Saturday was a great day. That is what I have been saying, and I stand by it. I just didn’t think it was a great-looking day.”
Steak Shapiro did offer an apology to Bennett. He said that if the quarterback was just trying to play music on his phone, that isn’t that big of a deal, and if he had known that is what was happening, his reaction may have been different.
“My bad,” he concluded. “You were just trying to play music and not ignore the fans. Still don’t think it was a great speech, but again, you’re the biggest football hero in Georgia football history. You’re one of the iconic sports figures — maybe number one — in a town of Hank Aaron, and Chipper Jones, and Domonique Wilkins, and Matt Ryan, and Deion Sanders. You’re probably number one all time.”
Brian Gebhardt to Serve as Program Director of Sactown Sports 1140
“Learning under skilled leaders such as Terry Foxx, Sean Thompson, Reggie Rouse, and Mike Conti helped prepare Gebhardt for the next step.”
Sactown Sports 1140 has found their next program director. After an extensive search, GM Steve Cottingim and Bonneville Sacramento’s Group Director of Programming Chad Rufer have found their next leader in Atlanta, GA, tabbing Brian Gebhardt to guide the brand’s programming department.
Gebhardt heads west to join Bonneville Sacramento after enjoying over seven years of success at 92.9 The Game. He has served recently as the Executive Producer of the ‘Andy & Randy’ show featuring Randy McMichael and Andy Bunker. During his time with the Atlanta sports station, Gebhardt has learned under skilled leaders such as Terry Foxx, Sean Thompson, Reggie Rouse, and Mike Conti. Those experiences prepared Gebhardt for the next step, as did working with numerous on-air talents who have helped The Game become a model of consistency in Georgia.
“Brian’s experience working with both premiere talent and professional sports franchises will help us help the Sactown Sports brand grow both on-air and on-line ,” said Cottingim.
“Brian demonstrated to us a real passion for leading extraordinary talent,” shared Rufer. “We are very confident that he will help us grow Sactown Sports into Sacramento’s premiere sports brand.”
“I can’t wait to get started and I am beyond excited to be working with Bonneville,” added Gebhardt.
The hiring of the Georgia native as new PD allows Nick Cattles to focus exclusively on hosting the station’s afternoon show, a role he’s wanted to invest more time. Cattles joined Sactown Sports in November 2021 and has pulled double duty since arriving in Northern California. He hired Ramie Makhlouf as his afternoon drive co-host and the duo have built a solid foundation in afternoons. Having the ability now to focus solely on the show should allow Cattles and Ramie to elevate their program even more.
The first day on the job for Gebhardt will be Monday February 3rd. Depending on what develops with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC playoffs, there’s a possibility he could be walking into two straight weeks of Super Bowl planning. Regardless, Gebhardt has a new market to learn, a new team to meet, a new company to deliver results for, and an opportunity to take a big step in his radio career.