Starting Monday, one familiar voice for Midlands’ sports fans will be missing from WNKT-FM, 107.5 The Game. Meanwhile, another familiar voice (and face) will join the lineup of Columbia’s top-rated sports-talk station, though not for the first time.
Departing is Michael Haney, co-host for 107.5’s “Halftime” show. He’s headed to Nashville with a goal of getting into the music industry. Coming on board is longtime WOLO-TV 25 sports director/anchor Tim Hill. He’s slated to team with Jay Phillips in the station’s 1-4 p.m. time slot.
In each case, Haney and Hill said it’s about fulfilling a dream.
Start with Haney, a 107.5 regular since the station signed on in November 2007. The Columbia resident and 2003 USC graduate shared a microphone with Phillips for three hours each weekday, and then produced (and occasionally shared a microphone on) Heath Cline’s “Gametime” show from 4-7 p.m.
Haney said he’ll relocate the week after Labor Day to Music City, where he hopes to work with singers and songwriters.
Patrick Davis, a Camden native and writer of songs for, among others, Darius Rucker, Jewel and Lady Antebellum, “has been a mentor for me,” Haney said. “We’ve talked about this for years.
“This is my window,” he said. “The longer I wait … I don’t know if the opportunities will be there.”
Haney’s move opened a spot for Hill, who until 2008 augmented his local TV presence by serving as half of the “Matt & Tim Show” for SportsRadio 1400 The Team. That ended seven years ago when Barrie (now with ESPN) moved to Dallas. Hill said he never lost his love for the freedom of live radio and has filled in as a guest host at 107.5 on several occasions.
“I love (TV), don’t get me wrong,” he said, “but it’s a completely different thing than radio. You get instant feedback (from listeners) in radio like no other format. If you want to have your finger on the pulse of sports issues, this is the only way to get it.
“(Taking on the radio job) was an easy call. I’m not worried about burning out; I’ve juggled it before, and anyway,” he added, laughing, “I know Jay will do 95 percent of the work.”
Hill’s desire to get back into talk radio – it helps, he said, that WOLO-TV is just down Gervais Street from 107.5’s studios – made things easier for WNKT’s program director Brent Johnson, who said Dave Adair will take over Haney’s afternoon producer’s role, while Jennifer Jensen replaces Adair in the mornings.
“Tim adds something to the show with his great quick wit. It’s a win for all of us,” Johnson said. “And TV-25 is excited, too. With both of us doing cross-promotion, it’s a good, good thing.”
Haney also sees his move that way, even if he’s taking the bigger risk. Still, at 34 and single, he says, this is the time to do what he’s doing.
“The music business has been a passion of mine for a long time,” he said. “Music is the only thing that could pull me away from sports.”
His past suggests as much. After earning his USC broadcasting degree, Haney says he walked into the office of Phil Kornblut, longtime host of “SportsTalk” on the S.C. Radio Network, and “told him I’d work for free” to get a foot in the door. He later worked at an Anderson radio station, where he was “selling my own ads and sleeping on a couch” while commuting to Columbia to work weekends.
Johnson, though, understands why Haney is moving on. “Being originally a music guy myself, I’ll be living vicariously through him,” he said. “He’s following his dream.”
Hill also feels that way about his move. “The back-and-forth (of radio) is what I enjoy the most, talking with random people (that) I had no idea I’d be talking with five seconds before. … That’s the fun part, what I miss in TV.”
Haney says he’s “proud of what we did here, and we kind of caught USC in its golden age,” citing the Gamecocks’ back-to-back College World Series victories (2010-11) and 33 wins in three football seasons (2011-13).
“It’s been fun every single day,” Haney said, and smiled. “I mean, we got to talk sports all day long.”
Credit to The State who originally published this article
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Nick Wilson: Deshaun Watson Press Conference ‘Insulting’ To Local Media
“You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters get to say, ask, or think.”
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson met with the media for the first time yesterday since being reinstated by the NFL after the league ruled he was guilty of violating the Personal Conduct Policy due to improper sexual advances towards more than two dozen massage therapists. 92.3 The Fan afternoon host Nick Wilson called Watson’s press conference “trash” and “insulting” to local media.
Watson told reporters he would only answer football related questions from the assembled media members, which Wilson took issue with.
“You can’t bury this story simply by saying ‘I won’t talk about it’,” Wilson said. “It is insulting to the media who covers this team. This is not about Nick Wilson, I promise. This is about the beat reporters who cover this team. It is insulting — intentionally or not — to say ‘You know what, guys? I love y’all, but I’m going to dictate what you ask me’.
“You don’t do that. You dictate when you speak, your opening statement, or how you respond. You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters — who work very hard day in, day out covering this organization, covering Deshaun Watson, covering this town — get to say, ask, or think. That was trash.”
Co-host Dustin Fox added the whole job of the media is to bring information to fans, and Watson wouldn’t allow reporters to do that Thursday, and may never do that.
Gregg Giannotti: Biggest Issue With Craig Carton, Jon Jastremski Feud Is “Mole” At WFAN
“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems.”
A feud has sprung up between WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton and former WFAN host John Jastremski. Boomer & Gio discussed the spat on Friday morning’s show, with Gregg Giannotti being troubled by a revelation.
During his New York New York podcast, a voicemail left for Jastremski asked about Carton’s comments, but the caller said a WFAN employee sent him the clip of Carton’s criticism.
“So that means we have a mole,” Boomer Esiason said.
“That right there is a problem,” Gregg Giannotti added. “‘We both have a mutual friend that still works over there’ and that person shared a link of Craig talking about JJ (Jastremski). So, clearly, that person is on JJ’s side and they’re still working here. That’s a mole! That’s someone going against the team! And I think know who that is!”
Esiason then asked if he knew the person, to which Giannotti said he did. He then asked if he would be upset by who it was, which Giannotti affirmed as well.
The show then played the final portion of Jastremski’s rant, which included him saying to Carton “I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike.”
“Jesus!” Esiason exclaimed. “Good for JJ, though. Standing up for himself.”
“I like both of these guys. I do. I got respect for both of them,” said Giannotti. “Everybody doesn’t have to go to the jail, crook thing with Craig every single time. Do they? It’s low-hanging fruit. Everybody goes there. There’s no way he can defend himself in that way because everybody saying ‘You went to jail’ didn’t go to jail, and it’s not apples and oranges. But the business stuff is apples-to-apples.
“So when I hear that, I’m just like ‘Ok, you went there. Be a little more creative than that’. As far as I listen to legend things, please, nobody has given me worse advice in my life than Mike Francesa did. Nobody. I would still be out in the newsroom cutting Islander highlights if I listened to that guy. And the only reason why Mike liked JJ was because he didn’t feel he was a threat. The only people Mike likes is the people he feels non-threatened by. And that’s where that comes from.”
After concluding Jastremski’s rant was a “little over the top”, Giannotti then turned his attention to the “mole” inside the station.
“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems. That — to me — is an issue. The guy on the voicemail said ‘We may or may not have a mutual friend that still works at the radio station’ and this guy just slammed the radio station. And he’s friends with the guy who slammed the radio station and then slammed Craig and this guy’s on their side?! And this guy that works here is on their side?! That to me is a major, major problem.”
Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’
“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”
Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.
That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.
Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.
“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”
Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.
“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”
Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.