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Dan Patrick: Duke Became A Brand Because Of ESPN

“I just thought about that, Coach K and Dickie V coming into college basketball really at the same time. When college basketball was peaking, Dick Vitale was, then Duke.”

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Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game as Duke men’s basketball coach didn’t go as many would have predicted. North Carolina ruined the festivities by trouncing the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 94-81. Duke’s performance was so bad that Coach K felt the need to apologize to the fans, calling the effort “unacceptable.”

Though the result of that home game surely stings, it has no effect on Krzyzewski’s legacy as a college basketball icon. On Friday’s The Dan Patrick Show, Patrick noted the impact that Coach K has had on the sport and drew an intriguing parallel with another figure whose status is iconic in the sport, ESPN commentator Dick Vitale.

“Coach K started in 1980. His first win was against Stetson,” said Patrick. “But Dick Vitale started in 1979. And Dickie V would always talk about Duke, he loved the Dukies, everything about Duke. He was nicknamed ‘Dukie V’ at one point.

“But I thought about that, with Coach K ending his career and I don’t know if Dick Vitale will be able to call another game. I hope he’s just healthy enough to be able to watch basketball. He’s going through a lot now; he’s going through cancer treatment. But just the timing of this; we’re getting ready for March Madness. This is when Dickie V is at his best. It takes a lot out of him because he puts a lot into it.

“And I just thought about that, Coach K and Dickie V coming into college basketball really at the same time,” Patrick continued. “When college basketball was peaking, Dick Vitale was, then Duke. Duke became a brand, like Notre Dame and the Lakers and the Yankees, late-80s, early 90s. Then we started getting tired of hearing about Duke because ESPN put Duke on every single night. Dickie V loved Mike Krzyzewski.”

As Patrick points out, the careers of Krzyzewski and Vitale have run nearly the same length of time, along the same period. As Coach K nears retirement, Vitale nears what could be the end of his broadcasting career.

In Sunday’s Boston Globe, Chad Finn wrote about communicating with Vitale via text message because his doctors have told him he cannot speak for four weeks as he recovers from cancer treatment and vocal cord surgery. Imagine that: During March Madness, Dickie V — whom many consider the voice of college basketball — can’t speak. Amusingly, however, Finn confirms that Vitale texts just as he speaks, complete with some of his signature phrases.

At 82, perhaps Vitale won’t be able to continue broadcasting. The hope is that he can still watch college basketball for many more years to come. Maybe his path can continue running alongside Krzyzewski’s and the two can sit together and watch a game — maybe even a Duke-North Carolina clash — sometime in the near-future.

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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