Back in February, when it was announced that Dave Shore would become the new programming director at Detroit Sports 105.1 (WMGC), his friends back in Los Angeles were understandably puzzled.
Why are you leaving this weather?
“I’m not in the weather business,” Shore said, laughing, over coffee on Thursday morning. “I’m in the sports business. I grew up in the Midwest. I can handle it.
“If Detroit isn’t the best … it has to be No. 1 or 2 of the top sports cities in America.”
Shore, 49, a radio veteran whose career has taken him through Los Angeles, Dallas, North Carolina, Oregon, Kentucky and Indiana, has a tall task ahead of him here, trying to take a sliver of the ratings away from chief competitor 97.1 The Ticket (WXYT).
It’s a tough battle, considering 97.1 is round-the-clock local — and among the top-rated sports-talk stations in the country, not just Michigan — while 105.1 remains local only from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Detroiters have proven time and again that they want local content, not national.
So no surprise, Shore, who takes over for Jason Dixon, who was the station’s programming director for its launch in August 2013, said more local programming is essential, and while he doesn’t have a time frame, he said, “I like to work fast.”
“You’ll hear more right away, you’ll hear more from us,” Shore said. “The bottom line, we’re not going anywhere. (Greater Media is) committed to local content. When you move to sports (format), you don’t do it to take a dip in the shallow pool. You have to get in it for the long haul.”
Among the new things you’re hearing on 105.1: Rob Pascoe is getting more of a presence on the update desk during ESPN Radio’s flagship morning show, “Mike & Mike”; Pistons pregame and postgame host Jake Chapman is starting to get more air time to talk about all sports; and on Wednesday nights, Chapman and veteran Detroit sports journalist (and former News staffer) Rob Parker are teaming up for a show.
Shore wouldn’t comment on the Parker-Chapman combo, other than saying, “What you’ll hear me do is, I will try a lot of things. Jake is one of our regular staff members. I want to hear him do all kinds of sports.”
Shore also already is starting the planning for beefed-up fall football coverage, which isn’t nailed down yet but figures to include more weekend programming geared toward Michigan, Michigan State and the Lions. Friday night high-school football coverage could be in the works, as well.
He may not be a Detroiter, but Shore knows the business, knows Detroit is a passionate sports town — and knows you can’t do enough local programming.
“Do I want more local programming?” Shore said. “I do.”
When the rapid growth will start is unclear, and Shore isn’t naming any names — though he said he values entertaining voices above anything else, because it’s an entertaining business. In past stops, he’s hired a longtime caller (Jay from Compton) to be a fill-in host, and even found on-air talent in comedy clubs.
Detroit Sports 105.1 has three regular shows under contract: Ryan Ermanni and Rico Beard weekday mornings; Matt Dery weekday mid-days; and Drew Lane and Marc Fellhauer weekday drive time. The station also has an excellent reporter in Denny Kapp, and a great producer/booker/update man in Tom Mazawey.
Shore said he’s spent his first weeks on the job taking everything in, including listening to the station’s shows — and analyzing the shows’ strengths.
One of the biggest knocks on 105.1 is that its billboard hosts, Lane and Fellhauer, are as likely to talk about an 80-year-old porn star as they are the Wings playoff series. Asked for his philosophy on how much sports his hosts should talk, Shore defended going off on government or pop-culture rants if they can grab listeners’ attention.
“If you and I meet for lunch, we don’t sit down and say, ‘Do you want to start with sports?'” Shore said. “So I don’t have a daily rule book for the guys.
“Remember, every market and every show is different. We’re 18 months old. If you go to most markets where they’ve started a sports station, and you’ve got guys who every day talk Xs and Os, they don’t do have half the ratings after 18 months that Drew and Marc have.”
Shore said Lane and Marc are just being themselves, and that’s important in any line of work. “You don’t want to be something you’re not,” Shore said.
While 97.1 remains the undisputed ratings champion in Metro Detroit, 105.1 gets decent numbers from Lane and Fellhauer, and the ratings book doesn’t include the number of folks who listen on streamed apps, or who download their podcasts. The podcast numbers, Shore said, are substantial.
Detroit Sports 105.1 landed the Pistons for the 2014-15 season, and continues to hold their rights — which could be huge if the Pistons turn things around, as they’re expected to do under Stan Van Gundy. It’s unclear if Greater Media will at least make a play for other pro teams’ rights, including the Tigers, who are a significant reason behind the massive ratings at 97.1. During Tigers off-season, 97.1’s ratings drop quite a bit — though, of course, nowhere near enough to knock it from its pedestal.
Shore acknowledges he spends a little time listening to 97.1, though he doesn’t obsess. He’s got his own house to fix up.
“I try to listen some,” Shore said. “But when you get to a place and you completely switch gears, I’ve gotta spend a lot of my time listening to my station.
“I check them out and I have mutual respect for the amazing job that they’ve done over the years. But there’s room for more.”
Credit to the Detroit News who originally published this article
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”