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ESPN Suspends Stephen A. Smith

Jason Barrett

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ESPN has announced that commentator Stephen A. Smith will not be appearing on ESPN2’s “First Take” or on ESPN Radio for the next week. He will return Aug. 6.

In a statement to employees released Tuesday, ESPN president John Skipper said the following:

“As many of you know, there has been substantial news coverage in the past few days related to comments Stephen A. made last Friday in the wake of the NFL’s decision to suspend Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games following charges of assaulting his then fiancée, now wife, a few months ago.

“We’ve said publicly and in this space that those remarks did not reflect our company’s point of view or our values. They certainly don’t reflect my personal beliefs.

“We have been engaged in thoughtful discussion about appropriate next steps. Those conversations have involved a diverse group of women and men in our company. Our women’s [employee resource group] has added to the conversation, and going forward, I know they will help us continue constructive discussion on this and related issues.

“Stephen has called what took place ‘the most egregious mistake’ of his career. I believe his apology was sincere and that he and we have learned from what we’ve collectively experienced. I’m confident we will all move forward with a greater sense of enlightenment and perspective as the lasting impact of these last few days. I want to thank all those whose thoughts have contributed along the way.”

Credit for this story goes to ESPN.com

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Sports Radio News

Kevin Shockey Named Program Director of Altitude Sports Radio

Shockey has been with iHeartMedia in Seattle since August of 2006, ascending to the Assistant Program Director role in 2015.

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KJR Assistant Program Director Kevin Shockey has been named the new Program Director of Altitude Sports Radio in Denver.

“I’m leaving a station that I love and going to a new station with talent that I believe in and I can’t wait to work with,” Shockey said in a Facebook post announcing the move. He added that it’s time “for a new challenge and a step up. That also means it is time to step out and take a risk.”

Shockey has been with iHeartMedia in Seattle since August of 2006, ascending to the Assistant Program Director role in 2015. He will fill the seat vacated by Dave Tepper, who became the Program Director of KOA earlier this summer.

His final day at KJR will be Wednesday. He’s expected to start working in Denver on Monday October 10th.

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Sports Radio News

Dan Le Batard: What 790 the Ticket Did to Jonathan Zaslow Was Horrifying

“But what they did to Zas was horrifying. What they did to Zaslow after 18 years of service, calling him in and not giving him any explanation, awful.

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Dan Le Batard Show

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz used its local hour portion of their podcast to discuss the folding of Miami’s 790 the Ticket. A large portion of the show staff previously worked at The Ticket and had many memories and thoughts on the end of an era for the brand.

Le Batard began by saying that it feels like they’ve grieved four different things in relation to the station, but it still stirred something when the news became official. Le Batard asked Stugotz, one of the founders of the station, what he felt when the switch happened.

“I wasn’t as sad as I thought I would be for a couple of reasons,” Stugotz said. “One: super proud of what we accomplished and built there. Secondly, and I’m serious about this, it probably lasted 17 years longer than what I thought it was going to last and for that I am thankful.”

The show went on to talk about one of the last pillars of the station, Jonathan Zaslow, being let go recently and how it was the final connective tissue that many had to the station where they began.

“My connection point (to 790 the Ticket) was the people there,” began Mike Ryan Ruiz. “The final nail in the coffin was when they let (Jonathan) Zaslow go, who was one of the original 790 hires. They did so in a crude fashion, I felt but…”

“Oh it was crude. It was crude,” Le Batard jumped in. “And that is what got stirred for me. That’s what got stirred for me when, it seemed 790 was dead to me because of some of the stuff that happened with the Local Hour at the end that I found disrespectful. But what they did to Zas was horrifying. What they did to Zaslow after 18 years of service, calling him in and not giving him any explanation, awful. The awful part of this awful radio business.”

Ruiz said that Zaslow should have been given an explanation and it wouldn’t have taken much.

“In fact, the explanation Zaslow should have gotten was ‘we’re consolidating both stations and don’t worry, we’ll tell the Miami Heat for you,’. Should have been a nice little human touch in regards to the Zaslow thing.”

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Sports Radio News

Kayla Anderson Added to 104.5 The Zone Morning Show

Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor to WKRN-TV in Nashville.

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Kayla Anderson has been added to the 104.5 The Zone morning show, newly titled Ramon, Kayla, and Will, joining Ramon Foster and Will Boling on the Nashville station.

Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor on WKRN-TV in Nashville. A graduate of Washington State University, she has also worked at television stations in Spokane, Missoula, Tucson, and Columbus in addition to her time in Nashville.

“After spending the last 15 years in local TV covering sports, I’m thrilled to venture into Sports Talk radio, joining 104.5 The Zone in the mornings with Ramon, Will and producer Jonathan Shaffer,” Anderson said. “I’m truly looking forward to hanging with this talented crew, talking sports, interacting with the listeners, and having lots of fun doing it!”

Anderson said on Twitter she is “so excited to join this group!”

Boling had been the interim host of the morning show after the August departure of Jason Martin.

Ramon, Kayla, and Will will be heard from 6:00 AM-10:00 AM each weekday morning.

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