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Bell In, Bailey Out At 92.9 The Game

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Morning host Jason Bailey is out and former 790/The Zone afternoon host Mike Bell is in at 92.9/The Game.

Bell came on air at 3 p.m. today to announce his arrival. Starting Monday, Bell officially joins Carl Dukes and the show time will add an extra hour, ending at 7 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. The show will air from 2 to 7 p.m.

Up to this point, 92.9/The Game has failed to – or resisted – hiring any talent from 790/The Zone. (The 2 Live Stewsanybody?)

Bell –  who was on the Zone for 15 years  until it dumped local programming in May – has been under contract with the station until December, 2015.

His agent Norm Schrutt was able to convince Zone owner Lincoln Financial to let Bell out of his non-compete clause in exchange for not having to pay him fully for another 17-plus months. “Lincoln was very fair,” Schrutt said. “It took awhile but it works out well.” (Schrutt also represents Carl Dukes.)

On air, Bell today discussed with Dukes about how the Braves’ Dan Uggla was finally released. “We both got paid to do nothing!” Bell cracked. The show took calls from very excited, very happy callers, asking him to do signature voices such as the late Cubs announcer Harry Carey and wrestler Dusty Rhodes.

Bailey, who was there for just a year, will be replaced by Marc James, the new afternoon guy with Dukes the past two months since the Game hired James and Mark Zinno for nights at about the same time. (Zinno’s show will run from 7 to 10 p.m. instead of 6 to 10 p.m.)

Bailey came from Florida last year, hoping his self-assured persona would click with the Atlanta audience. His bossTerry Foxx last fall said he hired Bailey because he’s not just a sports guy – he’s an entertainer first and foremost. “He’s not a traditional host,” Foxx said at the time. “He kind of lives on the edge.”

Although the Game’s ratings overall have been disappointing, you can’t necessarily blame Bailey. Listenership for the morning show among 25 to 54 year olds is actually up 47 percent year over year. The previous show featuring Rick Kimla (now in mid days) with Randy Crossaveraged a 0.75 rating over the first six months of 2013. Bailey with Cross helped improve that to a 1.1 rating for the first half of this year.

Besides Jamie Dukes, Randy Cross, CJ Simpson (since gone) and Mitch Evans, 92.9/The Game to date has largely hired on-air broadcasters with no Atlanta ties since it debuted in October, 2012. It has tried to differentiate itself by being live and local 24/7 and providing outsider perspectives. Unfortunately, this has failed to generate powerful ratings given its powerful 64,000 watt signaland remains behind dominant No. 1 sports talk station 680/The Fan, also heard on 93.7 on the FM dial.

But the station is making progress closing the gap with the Fan. As a whole, the Game averaged a 0.75 in overall listeners the first half of 2013 and is now up to a 1.1. I can’t report the ratings for the Fan because they are not subscribers to Nielsen Audio but I can say that their ratings dropped by about the same amount. They still hold a decent lead over the Game.

The battle is by no means over between the two stations.

For the rest of this story visit the Atlanta Journal Constitution where it was originally published

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Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte

“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”

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Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.

Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin. 

“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”

Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.

“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”

Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.

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Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football

“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”

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The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. 

With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.

“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit. 

Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about: 

As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.

“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”

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Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan

“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”

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John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.

Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.

“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”

Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.

The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.

“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”

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