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Will Jones Stick With Radio?



United States Rep. Matt Jones, D-Ky.

(We’ll pause to let that continue to sink in.)

Early last week, the host and founder of Kentucky Sports Radio acknowledged being approached by Democratic campaign operatives about running against Republican incumbent Andy Barr for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District seat next year. He said he would decide whether to challenge Barr before the Kentucky basketball team begins the 2015-16 season.

Speculation about a UK broadcaster venturing into politics is nothing new. In 1988, Ralph Hacker considered challenging a freshman senator named Mitch McConnell in the 1990 Republican primary. “I would be a better representative of the state,” he said at the time.

Hacker, the color analyst on UK football and basketball broadcasts, ultimately decided not to make the run. He flew to Washington, D.C., to tell McConnell personally before announcing the decision.

After retiring from UK’s broadcast team, Hacker twice considered running for the congressional seat now held by Barr. Both times he again chose not to run for public office, yielding to Alice Forgy Kerr in 2004 and Barr in 2012.

“It stokes your ego, that’s what it amounts to,” Hacker said last week of political operatives asking a public figure like Jones to run for office.

Hacker seemed a good person to ask about a hypothetical Jones candidacy. First question: Why would the Democrats approach Jones?

Neither major party wants to leave any race uncontested, Hacker said. So the operatives look for someone with name recognition or lots of money. Ideally, both. Jones overflows with name recognition. His profile continued to grow earlier this summer when he served as emcee on Kentucky’s most visible grassroots political stage, the Fancy Farm picnic.

A Jones candidacy would lead operatives to think, “Here are millions we wouldn’t have to spend to get him known because he’s already well-known,” Hacker said. “And I think that does count for something.”

From first-hand observation, I can attest to how wildly popular Jones is with UK fans. He accompanied Kentucky on its 2010 trip to play in the Maui Invitational. Fans reacted to him as if he were a Kardashian. One grandmotherly woman proudly told me that she woke up each morning wanting to check on how Jones was doing before seeing if her husband was OK.

In the 2012 “trophy tour” stop in Ashland, Jones bounded off the UK bus and drew as much buzz from the crowd as John Calipari. Each shook hands and posed for pictures.

Dale Emmons, a political consultant based in Richmond, is a fan.

“Certainly, Matt is an engaging personality,” he said. “As a UK basketball fan, I’m a huge fan of Matt Jones. Because he is unapologetically all things Blue.”

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Sports Radio News

Parker Hillis Named Brand Manager of Sports Radio 610



Goodbye snow and hello heat! Parker Hillis is headed to Houston. Audacy has announced that he will be the new brand manager for Sports Radio 610.

“Parker is a rising star,” Sarah Frazier, Senior Vice President and Market Manager of Audacy in Houston, said in a press release. “He has impressed us since day one with his innovative ideas, focus on talent coaching and work ethic. We’re thrilled to have him join our Audacy team.”

Hillis comes to the market from Denver. He has spent the last three years with Bonneville’s 104.3 The Fan. He started as the station’s executive producer before rising to APD earlier this year.

In announcing his exit from The Fan on his Facebook page, Hillis thanked Fan PD Raj Sharan for preparing him for this opportunity.

“His leadership and guidance set the stage for me to continue to grow and develop in this industry, one that I absolutely love,” Hillis wrote. “This is a special place, one that I am honored to have been a part of and so sad to leave.”

Sports Radio 610 began the process to find a new brand manager in February when Armen Williams announced he was leaving the role. Williams also came to Houston from Denver. He started his own business outside the radio industry.

“I’m excited to join the Sports Radio 610 team in Houston,” said Hillis. “The opportunity to direct and grow an already incredible Audacy brand is truly an honor.”

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Sports Radio News

Dave Rothenberg Can’t Stand Hearing Kenny Albert Mispronounce ‘Raleigh’

“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it.”



Dave Rothenberg has a tiny bone to pick with Kenny Albert, and it’s over the way Kenny pronounces the Carolina Hurricanes’ home city.

Talking on his show on ESPN New York on Tuesday, Rothenberg, who spent three years working in Raleigh on 99.9 The Fan, said he wished someone would get in Albert’s ear and correct the way he’s been saying it adding that it has made him wish one of the top play-by-play voices in hockey wouldn’t be on the call for the playoff series between the Canes and New York Rangers.

“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it,” Rothenberg said.

Albert has been pronouncing the city’s name as “RAW-lee”. It is properly pronounced “RAH-lee”.

Co-host Rick DiPietro and the rest of the show crew thought Albert would take offense to the correction, especially since it’s such a minor thing, but Rothenberg thought that was ridiculous.

“See, no one can deal with tough love anymore,” Rothenberg said.

The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes series shifts back to Raleigh on Thursday for Game 5. The series is tied 2-2.

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Sports Radio News

NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role

The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.



Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.

The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.

Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.

Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.

In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.

In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).

One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.

Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

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