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ESPN Denver Changes Lineup

Jason Barrett

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The Best of Denver curse strikes again.

Back in March, we named ESPN’s The Locker Room, co-starring Nate Kreckman and Broncos Ring of Famer Tom Nalen, Denver’s top radio sports show in our 2014 Best of Denver issue. But as with Gloria Neal, who was given her walking papers at AM-760 shortly after we dubbed her 2014’s Best Radio Talk-Show Host, Nalen’s out at ESPN Denver (although apparently by his choice), as are two other noteworthy personalities, Les Shapiro and Charles “CJ” Johnson — and other changes are on the way at the station beginning Monday, July 28.

First, a little background. In February 2010, aswe’ve reported, a group led by automobile expert and local TV staple Dealin’ Doug Moreland bought 102.3 and 105.5 from NRC Broadcasting, fronted by Tim Brown, an energetic figure who also happened to be gazillionaire Phil Anschutz’s son-in-law. The following May, we learned that the ownership cabal also included onetime Denver newspaper journo turned ESPN talking head Adam Schefter and Tom Manoogian, who was well known to listeners of KOA and other stations via his Lou From Littleton pseudonym.

The 102.3 format was dubbed The Ticket and featured Shapiro, Johnson and Kreckman — and all three survived when, in January 2012, the switch was made to ESPN Radio Denver. But the station has consistently struggled in the ratings. Combining the most recent numbers from both its signals still puts it in 26th place overall out of 36 stations.

Now, Shapiro and Johnson, who’d been paired in a midday slot, are out and Kreckman is the sole host of The Locker Room. Here’s how Manoogian describes the changes.

Regarding Nalen, Manoogian says, “Tom’s contract ended July 22. We offered an extension and he refused.”

Shapiro and Johnson received no such opportunity due in part to scheduling of nationally syndicated ESPN programming, including Mike and Mike, featuring Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, and Colin Cowherd.

Mike and Mike is our flagship show,” Manoogian allows. “It dominates men 25-54 in the mornings. And Colin does a great job for us. We couldn’t be happier.”

As a result, Mike and Mike will air from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. beginning on July 28, with Cowherd following from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — an hour later than previously. That shrinks the subsequent slot, which Les and CJ had manned from noon to three, to two hours, and Manoogian says, “A two-hour show doesn’t lend itself to having two people. It’s not cost-effective. At the end of the day, I’ve got to return a profit to my investors. So when Les and CJ’s contract also ended, we decided not to renew them.”

Instead, the two-hour block is now being filled by Cecil Lammey. “He has passion, energy and is about everything football,” Manoogian notes. “Cecil’s been doing Sunday mornings since we started the station and he’s an expert on fantasy — so we thought it would be the perfect time to give a chance to a guy who’s been with us since day one.”

For the rest of this story visit Westword where it was originally published

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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