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Under The Radar – December 12, 2016

Jason Barrett

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Here’s a few developments that you may not have heard about from the world of sports radio. To pass along future news, tips or press releases, email JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Could we see the return of Jim Rome to sports television on a daily basis in 2017? According to sources, Rome and CBS Sports Network executives have talked about the possibility of a daily TV simulcast of his radio program. Rome previously hosted TV shows for the network and Showtime from 2012 to 2015. No word on when the simulcast would start assuming a deal can be reached.

As Mike Francesa enjoys a break during the holidays, WFAN will give Brandon Tierney an opportunity to reconnect with New York sports radio listeners. Tierney will team with midday host Joe Beningo this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during Francesa’s timeslot. BT will also host all three days of his national show with Tiki Barber which airs on the CBS Sports Radio Network weekdays from 9a-12p ET.

A tip of the cap to DJ Stout, the longtime program director of WFNZ-AM, 610 The Fan in Charlotte, who announced that he won’t be leading the radio station as it changes hands from Beasley Broadcasting to Entercom. Stout is staying with Beasley where he’ll manage the country station WSOC-FM, The New 103.7, and news talk station WBCN, America’s Pulse 1660AM. WFNZ is expected to resolve their PD plans soon.

Last week Sean Baligian announced he’d be doing play by play of the Carolina Hurricanes game on December 31st. This week we’ve learned that the former Detroit sports talk show host will step in for good friend Bill Simonson on the Huge Radio Network from December 16-22. Simonson’s show originates out of the studios of WBBL in Grand Rapids and airs throughout the state of Michigan on 13 affiliates.

Cutbacks are the cause for longtime sports anchor and reporter Jon Jeffries losing his position at 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. The well traveled sports radio veteran is looking for his next opportunity and can be reached by email by clicking here.

590 The Fan, KFNS in St. Louis has announced they’ll be moving into new studios and part of the expansion includes launching a new restaurant and bar, the Kirkwood Brewhouse. Owner and morning host Tim McKernan says the goal is to have the studios ready by May, and the restaurant and bar will open this Friday at 4p.

Bay Area native and longtime radio host Rich Herrera has landed the role of pre-game host and senior executive producer of San Diego Padres baseball on Entercom alternative station FM 94.9. Herrera has previously worked in similar roles on Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland A’s, and San Francisco Giants broadcasts. He’s recently been hosting shows for SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, 790 The Ticket in Miami, and KMOX in St. Louis, and a podcast with former major league baseball manager Kevin Kennedy.

A job well done by the folks at 1080 The Fan in Portland. The station executed its 6th annual radiothon and helped raise more than $173K for Special Olympics Oregon. The radiothon was anchored by The Fan’s afternoon show “Primetime with Isaac and Suke”, which features Isaac Ropp and Jason Scukanec.

Kirkman Broadcasting has changed the format of a few of their stations in Charleston, South Carolina. 92.1FM and 102.1FM have dropped sports in favor of classic rock. The two signals are being re-branded as “The City“. The company though will continue offering sports radio programming on 98.5 The Zone, and ESPN Charleston 98.9FM/910AM.

Congrats is in order for former WEEI creative director Pete Gustin who has returned to his former station to assist with creating bits. Gustin tweeted that he was thrilled to be involved on a part-time basis adding some levity to the brand.

Speaking of WEEI, the newest episode of “Enough About Me” with morning host Kirk Minihane features new afternoon show addition Rich Keefe, who recently left 98.5 The Sports Hub to join the station. In the episode, Keefe opened up about the way the WEEI opportunity came about, and how he felt the past few years at the Sports Hub. To hear it click here.

The Hamilton Spectator published a piece last week showing the early struggles for the Hamilton Bulldogs new radio home, TSN 1150. The station has been the the lowest rated in the city, and among the lowest rated in all of Canada. Executives with TSN say it’s part of the growing pains many brands experience. The Bulldogs moved to TSN from news talk station CHML, a brand that reached more than four times the number of unique listeners TSN did this fall. Officials though remain optimistic and say it’s a marathon not a sprint.

The “Two Angry Guys”, Richard Skinner and Tom Gamble, who previously talked sports in Cincinnati on a number of different stations, and have been off the air since 2008, have released a podcast. The new program is being produced by Ebel’s Sports Productions’ ESP Media. You can download it by clicking here.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami, according to sources.

The radio station has removed his shell from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website. An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now. He was tweeting during his show’s scheduled time, with this being his most recent one which also referenced the show which appeared to still be on the air at the time.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. Since being with that group, he has worked with Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with.

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Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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