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Under The Radar – November 22, 2016

Jason Barrett

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As we gear up for Thanksgiving, here are a few sports media items that have trickled in and you may have missed. If you have future news to share you can send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Cumulus Dallas has found their successor to Tyler Cox, who is retiring after 40+ years in the industry, including the past ten as program director of Dallas News Talk stations WBAP and KLIF. Veteran sports radio programmer Kevin Graham, who last managed WEEI in Boston, and who’s served as PD for KFNZ in Salt Lake City, KTAR and KMVP in Phoenix, WXYT in Detroit, and WEPN in New York City, will succeed Cox. Graham says he’s long admired Dan Bennett and Jeff Catlin of Cumulus Dallas, and considers it a great honor to follow in Cox’s footsteps to assist in the continued growth of two of the country’s most successful News/Talk brands, WBAP and KLIF.

A special crew will be in place for tonight’s Monday Night football game on Westwood One, live from Mexico City, and featuring the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans. CBS Sports’ Spanish-language broadcast team of Armando Quintero, Benny Ricardo, and Brady Poppinga will call the action. The network’s regular broadcast team of Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason have the night off.

Rob Parker is heading west to Los Angeles to take on a larger role as a debate analyst at FOX Sports 1. Parker had made appearances on FS1 since the network launched but was still living and working in Detroit. No word yet on which shows he’ll contribute to regularly. The former opinionist previously worked for ESPN, and was a regular contributor to First Take before the show was altered to revolve around Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith.

In San Francisco, KPIX 5 Sports Anchor Dennis O’Donnell profiled former big leaguer turned KNBR 1050 morning host Kevin Frandsen. To check out the clip and learn more about Frandsen’s transition into the sports media industry click here.

Zach McCrite is doing some fill-in work this week in St. Louis for his former employer 101 ESPN. McCrite, who now resides in Louisville and last worked full time for 107.7 The Franchise in Oklahoma City, is stepping in for Anthony Stalter and Chris Duncan on The Turn.

Also in St. Louis, KSDK-5 has promoted sports anchor Frank Cusumano to Sports Director. Cusumano has been a sportscaster at KSDK since 1993, winning an Edward R. Murrow Award and 17 Emmys. He added “Some kids want to be doctors, others want to be lawyers, all I have ever wanted to do is to talk about sports on television and radio in St. Louis. I am honored to be able to tell the stories of these incredible athletes in our town.”

Longtime Toronto Blue Jays announcer Jerry Howarth is undergoing a cancer operation this week to remove a small tumor. Howarth said a biopsy failed to find any prostate cancer, but the growth was later detected during an MRI scan.

Jacksonville University has a new public address announcer. Joshua Jackson has agreed to be the PA voice for Men’s basketball games. He made his debut last week.

A new website (TheRaidersWire.com) is being launched by the USA Today Sports Media Group, and the company has hired Will Reeve Jr. to serve as the site’s managing editor.

Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

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The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

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Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

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Sports Radio News

Greg Hill: Ben Watson, Peter Burns Drama Was A Bit

“Be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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Peter Burns and Ben Watson shared an awkward exchange during the halftime show of an SEC Network football game over the weekend, and many are still debating whether Watson walking off the set was serious or not. Count part of the cast of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI as doubters.

“That was a a bit,” Courtney Cox said. “That was absolutely a bit.”

“Yeah, unlike the Chris Rock/Will Smith thing, I assume that was a bit,” Hill said. “I can’t believe that Ben Watson is really angry about that.”

“I dunno, man. There’s been a lot of speculation that it isn’t,” Jermaine Wiggins added. “There are people who are very sensitive about you clowning on them or joking with them. Especially with joking about their wife. Some people can’t handle jokes like that.”

After a back-and-forth with Cox about the legitimacy of the joke, Wiggins concluded by saying for some folks family is off limits.

“I’ve learned something in my 47 years on this Earth: be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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