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KKOB To Remain Home of Lobos

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The University of New Mexico’s flagship athletic programs – men’s basketball and football – will remain on the Lobos’ longtime flagship station for at least three more years.

On Friday, Pat Frisch, AM operations director for Albuquerque’s Cumulus-owned stations, told theJournal that KKOB (770 AM) has signed a new three-year agreement to keep Learfield Sports Properties as a partner. Learfield, based in Jefferson City, Mo., owns the broadcast rights for UNM men’s and women’s basketball and football games.

“That will keep men’s basketball and football on 770, and women’s basketball on The Sports Animal at 610 AM,” Frisch said. “It’s for the 2015, ’16 and ’17-18 school years.

“We started the negotiations in February. Learfield owns some pretty big teams, so they want radio stations with a lot of wattage. We have 50,000 watts, which is something they really like.”

Frisch has been with the station for 17 years, but said the Lobo football and basketball games have been aired on KKOB “for about 50 years.”

Learfield negotiates with UNM for the Lobo product, then with radio stations to sell the broadcasts. Frisch said Learfield also hires the broadcasters, but he said he assumes the broadcast teams will remain the same this year.

Robert Portnoy does play-by-play for both men’s basketball and football. Hunter Greene was the analyst for basketball and DonTrell Moore for football last year.

“Clearly, there’s a long history with KKOB broadcasting Lobo games,” said UNM athletic director Paul Krebs. “While we’re not involved directly in the negotiation process, I’m very happy to continue to be on 770. It’s a good relationship, and one I hope continues.”

Frisch said part of the appeal for Learfield is having a station that reaches so many areas that directly helps Lobo sports.

“We have the strongest station in (the) Southwest at night, when most games are played, and 770 covers 17 states,” Frisch said. “The biggest sports thing in town is New Mexico Lobo sports. It’s the greatest thing you can have in this market when it comes to sports. And it helps UNM as a recruiting tool, because we reach so many states.”

“I think that’s a very fair statement,” Krebs said. “They have such a large coverage area. And anytime you can get your brand and message out to a large population base, it’s a good thing.”

Joe O’Neill, president of KQTM-FM (101.7 The Team), said he was surprised Learfield didn’t reach out to his station, which is a 24-hour ESPN sports affiliate. The Team has broadcast Lobo baseball the past seven seasons and plans to again next season.

“As New Mexico’s highest-rated sports station, it makes sense that we would be a viable option,” O’Neill said. “But KKOB’s strength of signal and having familiarity (for fans) are factors. However, with the advent of streaming applications and the incredibly high use of smartphones, that strength of signal has never been less important. Quite frankly, we feel Lobos sports – and Lobo fans – would benefit from being on a dedicated sports station, especially one on FM. We’re a 24-hour sports station, and KKOB is a 24-hour news/talk station. It would seem to make sense that a sports listener would be more likely to buy tickets and support the teams.”

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Damon Amendolara: Why Does Tom Brady Want To Call Games?

“I was just always convinced Tom Brady had bigger fish to fry than calling Cowboys, Commanders on Thanksgiving.”

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady is headed to FOX. According to Damon Amendolara, there is no question who is getting the better end of that deal.

The network’s interest in Brady has been well-known for months. Still, CBS Sports Radio’s morning man cannot believe it is actually happening. He said Tuesday morning that he can’t understand why Brady would want to pursue a media career after his playign days end.

“I was just always convinced Tom Brady had bigger fish to fry than calling Cowboys, Commanders on Thanksgiving,” Amendolara said. “I just always felt like Brady’s post-playing career was going to be pushing nutrition, pushing TB12 brand, pushing his apparel brand and doing kind of elite media work.”

A media career for Tom Brady is something Amendolara said he assumed would happen off-camera. He pointed to the Religion of Sport production studio Brady co-owns as an example of what he would expect Brady to want to be involved in.

Broadcasters work more Sundays during the NFL season than players do. No matter how good the games are, Damon Amendolara said that it is a grind he could not believe Tom Brady was willing to sign up for.

“They’ll get the number one games, but you still gotta do 17 or 18 of them before you get to the playoffs and not every one of them is a sizzler.”

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Ike Reese: ‘It’s Up To Us To Let Ray Didinger Stay Retired’

“I would imagine he’ll still watch a game still jotting down notes. There’s no way he’s gonna watch a game without doing his Ray Diddy thing.”

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Ray Didinger is feeling a lot of love from his WIP colleagues after announcing his retirement on Sunday. He will still be on the station through the end of the month, but on Monday, nearly the entire full-time air staff of the radio station was paying tribute to him.

Jon Marks and Ike Reese took time out of their afternoon drive show on Monday to replay Didinger’s announcement. Marks said that it was “as thoughtful as everything that he does.” He doesn’t doubt that Didinger is at peace with the decision.

Reese joked that it was good to hear PD Rod Lakin was not responsible for this. He also said that he was happy to hear that this was not a health-related retirement. According to the former Eagles linebacker though, that means it would be really easy for Didinger to want to abandon his plans if given the chance.

“We obviously know how much Ray Didinger means to us. And this WIP family, just like the Comcast Sports family I’m sure, is important to him,” Ike Reese said. “I’d imagine he would have a tough time saying no. That is why you leave it up to us to don’t bother him. Don’t put him in that position. Let him enjoy retirement.”

He knows that it will be hard for Didinger to not stay ready for a media appearance diuring the football season.

“I would imagine he’ll still watch a game still jotting down notes. There’s no way he’s gonna watch a game without doing his Ray Diddy thing.”

Both Marks and Reese said they hope that they would not hear from Didinger until at least the 2023 Eagles season and that Ray and his wife use that time to fully enjoy their new freedom.

Jon Marks reminded everyone that Ray Didinger is still an author with products to sell. If they really miss him, they can always go to a book signing.

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Mat Smith and Nate Jackson: ESPN Anger Over Nikola Jokic MVP ‘Is Garbage’

“He’s not as sexy as these other guys. But he does deserve the MVP, and shame on these guys to make it about them and their choices and their votes.”

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Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has won the NBA MVP award for the second consecutive season. Jokic secured the award ahead of Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid.

ESPN NBA analysts Brian Windhorst and Tim Legler got the attention of Mat Smith and Nate Jackson on 104.3 The Fan in Denver Monday. Both Legler and Windhorst felt like Embiid was the MVP and sounded downright offended that he was not named the winner.

Legler said Embiid carried the Sixers and had a firm grip on the award from early February through the end of the regular season.

But Smith, who was filling in for Chad Brown on Monday, argued that the same things could be said for Jokic, adding that Jokic did more with less star power on the Nuggets roster. He didn’t understand how Embiid was Legler’s clear choice over Jokic.

“There’s so many different reasons why that specifically is garbage from Legler,” Smith said.

Jackson said Jokic is the Rodney Dangerfield of NBA players and made the point that it’s a continuation of a trend. For what ever reason, the national media overlooks the 27-year-old Serbian superstar.

“They don’t pay attention to it, they’re quick to write off this guy because they don’t appreciate his style of play,” he said. “He’s not as sexy as these other guys. But he does deserve the MVP, and shame on these guys to make it about them and their choices and their votes.”

Windhorst explained he went with Embiid based on what advanced statistics were saying. Smith said Windhorst basically laid out why Jokic was most deserving of MVP.

“He just gave every reason why Jokic should win and said, ‘Well I voted for Embiid, and I’m not taking it back,'” Smith said. He added that it was puzzling why so many voters were against Jokic. “These guys don’t like Joker. He’s not likable nationally, and why that is I’m not sure.”

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