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92.3 The Fan, ESPN Cleveland React To Deshaun Watson Suspension

ESPN Cleveland and 92.3 The Fan, the co-flagship stations of the Browns Radio Network, covered the news extensively.



The most anticipated NFL news of the offseason came down Monday morning as Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson had violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy and suspended him for the first six games of the season. ESPN Cleveland and 92.3 The Fan, the co-flagship stations of the Browns Radio Network, covered the news extensively.

“Let’s go, baby,” ESPN Cleveland’s Chris Oldach said. “All offseason it (Watson’s possible suspension length) has been ‘four games, a year, indefinite’ and I got so exhausted by it. Finally, we have the answer. Six games.”

“The ball is in the court of the NFL,” Tony Rizzo of The Really Big Show added. “Whether or not the league is going to appeal, whether or not they think six games is fair. Whether or not they think six games is fair to their PR reputation because now this becomes ‘is it enough?’. They pushed for a year. Will that be enough for them? To say that they pushed for a year? I’ve gotta believe both sides went with Judge Sue L. Robinson. Both sides agreed that she would make the decision.

“What a bad look it would be, now, if the NFL comes out and appeals this ruling. Because why did you agree to have this judge rule in the first place? As a Browns fan, I’m a little worried about that, but I think they (the NFL) might have to live with this. The PA (NFL Players Association) had come out last night and said no matter what the ruling they would not appeal. I think they had a little inkling it was going to be the four to six games we reported a few weeks ago.”

“I think it’s a win,” Browns reporter Tony Grossi told Rizzo. “I think it’s a win for Watson, I think it’s a win for the Browns, and Riz, I don’t think the NFL is going to mess with appealing it. I agree with you. I think it’s a bad look. I think it was an ingenious proactive strike by the NFLPA with their statement. They obviously had an inkling that they were going to ‘win’ this whole thing, and even though he is suspended six games I think they (the Browns, Watson, and the NFLPA) have to be happy with it.”

Meanwhile, at 92.3 The Fan, The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima tried to straddle the line between recognizing the repercussions both off the field and on the field.

“I think that’s a win for Deshaun Watson,” 92.3 The Fan’s Browns Reporter Daryl Ruiter told the duo. “And to a football perspective, the Cleveland Browns.”

“I’m trying to be sensitive to all parties involved, I am,” Carman replied. “But I’m a fan of the team, I can’t deny that. I’m looking at this with a great sense of relief. There were people saying this (signing Watson) wasn’t worth the investment. There were people who went after the Browns for that. I never felt that way. Six games? I can look you dead in the eye and tell you this team is making the playoffs if he’s suspended for six games.”

“It was very scary to hear ‘indefinite, having to apply for reinstatement, a full season’ the NFL was hungry for,” Lima said.

“From the NFL’s perspective they, at least publicly, wanted to come across as ‘we take these allegations that were made in civil court against Deshaun Watson very, very seriously. We felt that they were egregious enough in that his actions violated, whatever those actions were, violated the NFL’s Conduct Policy in such a manner that it requires him to not be allowed to play this coming season’. That becomes a very positive PR ploy from the NFL’s standpoint. Because they’re putting it out there that they’re being really, really tough on him,” Ruiter added.

“Six games, to me, with everything we’ve read — and gosh I’ve read more this summer than I’ve done since I was in high school, even college — seems reasonable,” Carman said. “I’m sure there’s going to be national pundits who are very, very upset with it. I’m sure, because that’s the way it operates, but you’ve gone through this system. You’re basing this on fairness, and that’s what it is.”

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Sports Radio News

Zolak and Bertrand Broadcast During Patriots/Panthers Fights

“I’ve never seen anything like this at a camp… this is great today,” beamed Zolak.



Zolak and Bertrand

Scott Zolak and Marc Bertrand were broadcasting live from the New England Patriots’ joint practice with the Carolina Panthers. During their show, things got heated between the two teams, multiple times, and the show was there to call it all.

Bertrand was bringing the show back from commercial break and noted that there had just been a fight moments before Zolak and Bertrand were live.

“This drill got escalated by the Panthers here,” said co-host and former Patriots quarterback. “This is number three (fights)in a freaking kickoff drill. A kickoff drill!”

Shortly after, Bertrand was describing the efforts to separate the two teams when even more chaos erupted.

“They’ve separated all the players,” began Bertrand, sensing some calm was being restored. “They’ve sent them on their way to the next period so you’ve got — and now here comes another fight. Another major fight! It’s happening right in front of the stands.”

“These guys are a-holes man,” spoke Zolak. “Get these clowns out of here. All they want to do is fight. This is unreal. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“What a scene,” said Bertrand.

“I’ve never seen anything like this at a camp… this is great today,” beamed Zolak. “Thank God we’re down here!”

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Sports Radio News

1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.



In another cut from Audacy, 1140 The Bet has cancelled The Playmakers on their Las Vegas station.

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Brown tweeted the news, saying “Sadly I have been informed that yesterday was our final show. I am thankful for the people it brought into my life & the experiences we created I am incredibly proud of our work & the boundaries we are eager to push in sportz radio. Today is a tough day. Tomorrow is on the way.”

Hernandez followed up by tweeting “I can’t put into words right now how I feel right now but in my radio journey from College in Tampa to Phoenix and now Las Vegas you were the best teammate I’ve ever had in radio and more importantly a great person. I appreciate and will miss you Badass Brown.”

According to the station’s website, it will replace The Playmakers with You Better You Bet from the BetQL Network.

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Sports Radio News

1250-AM The Fan in Milwaukee Reportedly Cancels Local Programming

The station is streaming CBS Sports and has removed the local daily lineup from the 1250 AM The Fan website.



1250 AM The Fan

Stunning sports radio news out of Milwaukee. 1250-AM The Fan has suddenly removed all of its local programming and switched over to CBS Sports Radio.

The news came as a shock to local listeners but even more surprising to the station’s staff. Here’s a tweet from Evan Heffelfinger noting that today was “everyone’s” last day at the station.

The station’s stream is currently airing CBS Sports Radio. The local daily lineup has also been removed from the 1250 The Fan website although show podcasts still remain.

In regards to the station’s talent, most have been quiet since the news began to trickle out. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that recent NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler was part of the cuts. Bart Winkler, Tim Allen, and Gary Ellerson are expected to be out as well.

“Over the past few years, Audacy has been on a transformational journey, investing in our capabilities to serve our listeners and customers and accelerate our growth through a number of strategic acquisitions, enhancements to our platform, and the addition of hundreds of team members to our workforce,” explained an Audacy spokesperson. “We remain committed to this exciting transformation which has made us a much stronger organization, but in light of current macroeconomic headwinds, like so many other companies, we have been proactively taking actions to mitigate against the impact of any downturn. These include evaluating budgets, reducing expenses, and also reducing our workforce.”

One host who is expected to remain involved is Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer. Fifer was part of the midday show, and also helped behind the scenes. According to sources, he’s likely to contribute off-air and with additional brand projects. The rest will have an opportunity to explore opportunities should any become available at 97.3 The Game, ESPN 94.1, WTMJ or any other local outlets.

Upon learning of the news, a few former 1250 hosts, Mike Wickett and Cliff Saunders, took to social media to share their sadness.

Ryan Maguire, who served as the PD of 1250 The Fan from 2006-2009, and is currently the PD of crosstown rivals ESPN Milwaukee and WTMJ, provided his perspective.

One host who left before the station was dismantled was former afternoon man Ramie Makhlouf. The longtime Milwaukee voice exited in June to join Sactown Sports 1140.

This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we’ll pass it along. 1250-AM The Fan is owned by Audacy, which just announced plans to reduce less than 5% of its programming staff.

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