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Under The Radar – August 29, 2016

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I’ve been on the road recently which has made writing a bigger challenge than usual. As a result, a number of sports media news items have taken place yet been underreported. To make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening in the sports media universe I bring you the latest edition of “Under The Radar“. As a reminder, if you or your company have a future news item to share please email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

  • Congrats to Chadd Scott who has shifted from programming sports radio station 1010XL in Jacksonville to overseeing content for the website Gridiron Now. The popular SEC football driven website has grown tremendously since its launch in September 2015, creating a need to have someone like Scott more involved in the day to day operations of the brand. With his change in position, 1010XL is now searching for a new Program Director. Interested parties can apply by sending their materials to executivejobs@gridironnow.com.
  • ESPN LA 710 is expected to make an announcement soon about its new weekday lineup. The radio station has been working to increase local programming in morning drive, and find a strong partner to join Marcellus Wiley in afternoons. According to sources, Jorge Sedano and Keyshawn Johnson will team up in mornings. Kelvin Washington will shift to afternoons to join Wiley. No changes are expected on the station’s midday programs. With Sedano moving to Los Angeles, network sources say Sarah Spain is likely to assume Jorge’s role on the ESPN Radio Network alongside Israel Gutierrez.
  • Last week was one of the most chaotic weeks in Philadelphia sports radio history. It began with Crossing Broad reporting that producer Pat Egan at 97.5 The Fanatic created a fake African American caller named Dwayne from Swedesboro and had been phoning into Mike Missanelli’s show for two years. The controversy resulted in a suspension for three members of The Fanatic, and WIP terminating afternoon host Josh Innes. One person who took notice was Tony Bruno, who previously worked for both brands as a co-host with Innes, and a teammate of Missanelli’s. If you haven’t heard his podcast, take a listen. His opinions on the individuals involved and the situation that unfolded are as strong as they come.
  • KNBR‘s parent company Cumulus Media remains locked in a battle with the SAG/AFTRA union over wages for the station’s employees. Representatives for 35 employees say that despite KNBR being one of Cumulus’ top five revenue generators (they own 453 stations), staffers are being paid minimum wage ($13 an hour). The union is asking for $17 an hour for off-air employees, and $30 an hour for on-air people. Cumulus management says the union’s claims are false, and that they’ve offered employees increases ranging from 3 to 16.3 percent, while the union continues to press for unreasonable increases as high as 145 percent.
  • Former WEEI morning man John Dennis conducted an interview recently with Newscenter 5 in Boston. When asked about his departure from the popular “Dennis and Callahan” program he said his relationship with co-host Kirk Minihane wasn’t strong, but it never stopped the show from performing over the past three years. He talked about being tired and glad to not wake up anymore at 3:30am. When asked to describe Callahan he called him a good columnist who should write more. He labeled Minihane as someone who is complicated.
  • Speaking of WEEI, the radio station has made a few producer changes. The station has brought back Chris Curtis to help produce the morning show. Paul Chartier has shifted to middays where he’s now producing Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria.
  • Staying in Boston, congratulations are in order for Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti who were named Boston’s favorite local sports radio show by Channel Media and Market Research. The company surveyed nearly 14,600 Boston sports fans and The Sports Hub’s afternoon show led the voting for best local program with 29% of the vote. Felger also was named favorite local radio personality, and came in second to NESN’s Tom Caron as favorite local TV personality.
  • Former Detroit Sports 105.1 Program Director and On-Air host Dave Shore will be doing some sideline reporting for ESPN Radio’s NFL and College Football games. Shore’s first assignment is this Saturday working the Georgia-UNC game. He’s also looking for his next permanent radio opportunity and can be reached via email by clicking here.
  • 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis has hired a new Minnesota Vikings reporter and analyst. Matthew Coller has accepted the position and left WGR in Buffalo where he spent nearly six years serving as a producer, reporter and on-air contributor and host.
  • 104.9 The Horn in Austin, TX has hired Brad Kellner as producer of “Mornings with Bucky & Erin” featuring Bucky Godbolt and Erin Hogan. Kellner will also host two-hour shows on Saturday and Sunday, a one-hour Longhorn-centered show on Tuesday nights, and produce the station’s football pregame show, “Longhorn Gameday“. He spent the past year producing “The Bottom Line” with Sean Adams & Chip Brown for local competitor AM 1300 The Zone.
  • ESPN 1480 in Lincoln is increasing its local programming by an hour. The station revealed today that its midday show “Gregath and Smith” will expand to three hours, airing weekdays from 9a-12p CT. It had been broadcasting 9a-11a. The local duo’s expansion leads to the elimination of Jim Rome’s show broadcasting from 11a-12p CT.
  • Heather Higginbotham Halbrook has left 680 The Fan in Atlanta in order to accept a producer position with Cox Media’s “SEC Country“. Heather worked behind the scenes for 680, most often with Chuck and Chernoff. Donnie Smith is expected to assume her duties.
  • Matt Jones reports that Drew Franklin will be joining his radio program on a bi-weekly basis starting after Labor Day. Jones broadcasts Kentucky Sports Radio which airs throughout the state of Kentucky on many iHeart radio stations. KSR has also promoted Maria Taustine to a FT position.
  • The San Diego Padres will be moving their radio broadcasts next season from the Mighty 1090 to KBZT-FM 94.9 but one thing that won’t be changing are the team’s announcers. The team says Ted Leitner and Jesse Agler will continue to call the action for the 2017 season.
  • Popular sports writer Don Banks revealed that he’s left Sports Illustrated after sixteen and a half years with the popular magazine and website. He says the departure is due to salary cuts, and future news of his next adventure will be forthcoming on social media once he’s ready to announce it.

Sports Radio News

Bob Cousy: ‘JJ Redick Is Untalented Using Me To Get Attention On ESPN’

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

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Celtics legend Bob Cousy was not too happy with J.J. Redick dissing his game and credibility as an all-time great player.

During an appearance on First Take, Redick got into a fiery debate with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about whether Chris Paul deserves to be mentioned among the best point guards in NBA history despite another disappointing exit from the playoffs. Russo claimed that Paul is “no Bob Cousy” which prompted Redick to retort, saying Cousy couldn’t even dribble with his left hand and called the players he played against, “plumbers” and “firemen.”

“Bob Cousy won championships when there were eight teams in the NBA and you had to win two playoff series,” Reddick said. “Let’s celebrate Bob Cousy in his era, but you can’t compare pre-1980 with the modern NBA.”

The 93-old Cousy made an appearance on SiriusXM Radio where he went scorched earth on Redick, basically calling the ESPN analyst “untalented” while listing some of the players that he went up against in his era.

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said.

“So when you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won’t do that, but I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced. And I’ll just give you a few of the names of these firemen that I played with and against during those years. How about Bill Russell, the aforementioned, not too bad a player. Wilt Chamberlain, remember that guy? He wasn’t bad. I guess he must have fought fires as well. But in any event, Wilt Chamberlain.

“Still the best, in my judgment, small forward that ever played the game, a guy named Elgin Baylor. A couple of point guards that weren’t too shabby, my colleague who also had an award created [in his name], guy named Oscar Robertson, who was pound for pound the best player perhaps in the game.”

Chris Paul is a 12-time All-Star compared to Cousy’s 13 appearances.

One thing Paul and Bob Cousy do have in common is their aptitude for leadership. Cousy developed and started the NBA players union in 1954, being named its first president. Paul served in that same role from 2013-2021.

The two men also share similarities off the court. Cousy was a stanch anti-racist advocate during the civil rights era 50s and 60s, when it wasn’t all that popular to so. Paul has also spoke out on issues regarding race, working with commissioner Adam Silver to address some of the issues facing the black community.

Maybe the two have more in common than either Redick or Russo would like to admit.

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Sports Radio News

Cole Cubelic: ‘A Lot Of Media Wasn’t Prepared To Talk About Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher’

“There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

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The comments from Alabama football coach Nick Saban regarding other teams allegedly “buying” their players through the new rules pertaining to name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has set the college football world abuzz.

In his comments, Saban directly accused Texas A&M Head Coach and one of his former assistant coaches at Louisiana State University Jimbo Fisher of unreasonably using NIL deals to recruit college football players, and remarked that the system as a whole has created a fundamental disadvantage for certain programs. Additionally, he stated that Alabama has never tried to lure a player solely based on these deals; however, he left the door open to potentially having to adjust his recruitment strategy to align with the actions of his competitors around him.

Much of the college football world weighed in on the comments, but the voice everyone was waiting to hear was that of Jimbo Fisher, including McElroy and Cubic in the Morning on Jox 94.5 FM in Birmingham, Ala. On Friday morning, the program opened with show co-host Cole Cubelic reacting to the candid response given by Fisher in a news conference carried on multiple media outlets in which Fisher called Saban a “narcissist.”

“When we’ve had coaching feuds before, we’ve had guys go back and forth; we’ve had guys go at one another, sometimes in a little bit more of a subtle way; sometimes maybe a less-confrontational way,” Cubelic said. “Jimbo even said it yesterday – he’s not afraid of confrontation; he’s not worried about it.”

An aspect of what has made this discordance between two highly-accomplished and eminent coaches a story being followed across the college football landscape is the fact that it has taken place within the public sphere. When Saban appeared on SiriusXM Radio and apologized for singling out Texas A&M in his comments from earlier in the week, there was not much emotion involved, according to Cubelic. Fisher’s remarks in his press conference though, were of a completely different sentiment – and may have escalated the situation altogether.

“Debates often turn to arguments as soon as emotions become involved,” Cubelic said. “…Jimbo Fisher yesterday at 10 a.m. – that felt emotional; that felt personal, and that one had to dig deep. Jimbo Fisher said yesterday he doesn’t anticipate things are going to be repaired. I don’t see in a way that these two sort of get things back in line.”

“The bridge is burned both ways,” added show co-host Greg McElroy. “They’ll probably shake hands; do what they need to do pregame. But as far as any love lost? Nah, that’s a wrap.”

A part of this story that remains seminal when reporting or commenting on it is listening to the full extent of the comments from both Saban and Fisher on the situation so as to more effectively contextualize and comprehend the situation. Cubelic said that he did multiple interviews on different programs yesterday, and some of the interviewers, as he anticipated, had solely listened to portions of the comments, rendering them not completely prepared to have a truly pertinent discussion about the topic at hand.

“We said it here on the show yesterday morning — right out of the gate — people are going to take the Miami; the Jackson State; and the Texas A&M stuff, and they’re going to clip it and they’re going to play it and they’re going to read it and that’s all they’re going to pay attention to,” said Cubelic. “There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”

Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies visit Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 8 in a matchup that will sure to be a primary topic of discussion in the weeks and months leading to kickoff.

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Sports Radio News

Doug Gottlieb On Praise For Pat Beverly: ‘What a Joke!’

“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport.”

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Pat Beverley of the Minnesota Timberwolves may have used his appearances this week on ESPN to set up a potential career in media, but some just simply weren’t impressed.

You can count Doug Gottlieb among them. Gottlieb said Wednesday that Beverley’s takes on Suns guard Chris Paul and words for Matt Barnes regarding James Harden’s contract didn’t do him any favors for the future.

“Pat Beverley, if you’re going to die on a hill, James Harden’s hill is not the one to die on,” Gottlieb said. “In a week in which you have a chance to carve out a potential career for yourself which is as good, or greater than your NBA career. What a joke!”

Gottlieb added that Beverley also lost people completely “acting like the arrogant NBA athlete that so many assume that NBA athletes are.”

“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport,” he said. “Congratulations, hell of a week and you’re only in day two.”

While Beverley may not have Gottlieb singing his praises as an analyst, the T-Wolves journeyman did get the attention of Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy. Portnoy said if Beverley wanted to do a podcast for the company, he would give him a blank check and hire him no questions asked.

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