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Best and Worst In Miami Media

Jason Barrett

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This was a year in South Florida sports media when NBC-6 inexplicably decided it was better off without arguably its most popular personality, a radio host was arrested for stealing from another station, and some Panthers games drew smaller audiences than Barbecue University, Mystery Diners and ice-crusher infomercials.

Recognizing the notable, regrettable and memorable from the local airwaves in 2014:

### Best personnel moves:

1) Fox and the Panthers hiring polished, respected Denis Potvin as TV analyst five years after dropping him.

2) 104.3 The Ticket pairing Josh Friedman and Chris Wittyngham on evening talk shows. They consistently mix smart, sensible commentary with quirky musings about day-to-day life.

3) WPLG-10 and NBC-6 hiring highly competent backup sportscasters Clay Ferraro and Stefano Fusaro.

4) WQAM-560 luring clever, engaging Marc Hochman from The Ticket for its afternoon drive-time slot.

5) The Dolphins and WINZ-940 snagging capable Greg Likens from WQAM when Jesse Agler left for the San Diego Padres.

6) WQAM promoting utilityman Curtis Stevenson to a prominent role on Joe Rose’s show. “Captain Curtis” deserved a regular gig and engages Rose in substantive conversation.

7) WINZ luring Andy Slater — who works harder to break stories than most talk show hosts — from WMEN-640, and WQAM upgrading by hiring Orlando Alzugaray, though he was much too critical of Ryan Tannehill this season.

8) Sun Sports hiring Ron Rothstein as a studio analyst on Heat games.

### Worst moves:

1) NBC 6 buying out Rose with a year left on his contract — essentially paying him not to work. At least they have a very good replacement in Adam Kuperstein.

2) NBC 6 dropping its 6 p.m. sportscast and Sunday Sports Final (the final episode is Sunday).

3) FIU refusing to grant a credential to Miami Herald sports writer David J. Neal early in the season because of perceived negative coverage, before coming to its senses.

4) CBS-4 refusing to carry the network’s post-game NFL coverage, including the conclusion of other games, following Dolphins games. It’s understandable that WFOR switches to a local Dolphins postgame show, but the station should shift the remaining CBS NFL coverage to Channel 33.

5) Sun Sports hiring Carl Pavano for Marlins postgame shows without giving him proper coaching.

### Best programs:

1) Dan Le Batard on The Ticket and ESPN Radio. Yes, there’s sometimes too much needling of Jon Wiener, but it’s still the show most likely to make you laugh and make you think.

2) “Inside the Heat, Marlins and Panthers” specials on Sun Sports and FSN. Consistently well-produced.

3) WSVN-7’s Sports Xtra. The quintessential wise guy, Steve Shapirokeeps the show light, lively and well-paced. And Drew Rosenhaus delivers quality guests and news tips.

### Best weeknight sportscast:

Shapiro on Channel 7, largely a function of the fact he has more air time than his competitors. But he makes the most of it.

### Best radiocast:

UM football on WQAM. The Hurricanes are the only local team that we would encourage turning down the TV volume to hear the radio call.

Read the rest of the article by visiting the Miami Herald where this story 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.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

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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