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Dan Barreiro: Is Bally Sports+ Going To Be Worth It For Fans?

“When it’s isolated like that, [consumers think], ‘$20 for Bally Sports? Are you kidding me!? You’re out of your mind.”

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After much anticipation, Sinclair Broadcast Group has officially announced its plans to soft-launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming service called “Bally Sports+” by the start of the third quarter of 2022, priced at $19.99 monthly or $189.99 annually.

Earlier this week, Dan Barreiro reacted to the news that Bally Sports would be available to stream outside of the DirecTV Stream package after the regional sports networks had been previously dropped by other streaming services. During his show on KFAN in Minneapolis, he wondered if consumers would see the price as fair.

“They don’t view it the same way psychologically because it’s one of many channels they get for an overall price they are comfortable with,” Barreiro said, referring to Bally Sports’ presence within a larger subscription. “When it’s isolated like that, [consumers think], ‘$20 for Bally Sports? Are you kidding me!? You’re out of your mind.”

The show’s producer Justin Gaard believes the new service could serve as a gauge by which to measure overall interest in streaming sports. He is curious to see what happens if subscription prices rise, akin to Netflix raising its standard subscription price nearly 20% over the last calendar year.

“What’s the cost? What’s the limit?,” asked Gaard. “Am I willing to pay $20 or in three years when they go, ‘You know what? It’s $29.99 now.’ Or, ‘It’s $39.99.’ You know it’s going to go up at some point.”

There exists an overall feeling of disappointment towards sports teams in the Twin Cities, creating a feeling of disdain among sports fans. “I don’t want to be paying an additional $19.99 a month to watch teams get bounced in the first round of the playoffs,” commented a KFAN listener. While the NHL’s Minnesota Wild are currently competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves were recently eliminated in the first round – creating a dilemma Sinclair and other services like it will need to figure out.

Not all sports fans within the Twin Cities closely follow every team, meaning that they may wish to subscribe to Sinclair’s streaming service for part of the year. Barreiro wondered if that is going to be possible.

“There are some people that say, ‘Well, there are some sports I’m going to be interested in, so I’m going to go in and out of it,’” expressed Barreiro. “Will you have that opportunity, or will the Sinclair people say, ‘Not so fast, my friend. You’ve got a minimum commitment of a year.’ Otherwise, it’s going to be too easy for people to take advantage of the system.”

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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