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Under The Radar – February 13, 2017

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Another busy week in sports media full of news and notes you likely missed. To be included in a future column, send your news, tip or press release to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s what’s happening.

Well wishes are granted to Amber Wilson of 790 The Ticket in Miami. The talented and energetic morning host announced she’ll be taking time away from the morning show, which includes Jonathan Zaslow and Brett Romberg, in order to battle breast cancer. Readers can send their support via Twitter by clicking here.

After 17 years, talented ESPN television producer and social media expert Jason Romano has decided to pursue a new calling. Romano, who has worked on numerous successful TV shows for ESPN, says he’s been nudged by the lord to help spread his message, and as a result, he’s going to start his own consulting business to help churches, athletes and other companies with their social and digital media. He also plans to host a new faith and sports podcast.

Another ESPN employee received some positive news recently. Anish Shroff has been named the network’s new Lacrosse play by play voice. Shroff replaces Eamon McAnaney who left last month to join SNY.

A well deserved congratulations is in order for Tony DiGiacomo who was recently promoted to the position of Program Director at Charlotte’s sports station WFNZ. DiGiacomo had been with the station for about 8 years, serving as an Executive Producer and Assistant Program Director before officially being given the PD title.

Also at WFNZ, midday host Nathan Conley has exited the building and is no longer with the company.

Another story out of Charlotte. Gerry Vaillancourt is returning to the local airwaves this week, hosting evenings on powerhouse news talker WBT. Vaillancourt previously hosted shows on the station earlier in his career but left the market when the Hornets elected to depart for New Orleans. At the time he was part of the team’s broadcast crew.

A tip of the cap to the crew at 1620 The Zone in Omaha. The radio station closed out the 4th quarter in strong fashion, finishing 3rd in both morning and middays. The station was also top 6 M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid, plus outranked local competitor ESPN 590 on the weekends, despite being at a disadvantage due to 590 carrying Nebraska Cornhuskers football. A great job by all involved.

In San Francisco, popular radio analyst Mike Krukow has announced he’ll reduce his schedule for the 2017 season. Former Giants Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez will earn some reps filling in.

After 31 years in broadcasting, former ESPN 980 Program Director and Navy Football Executive Producer Chuck Sapienza is tackling a new challenge. Sapienza announced that he’s joining the staff of Mount Saint Joseph High School as their marketing manager. He says he’ll also continue to blog for Breaking Burgundy.

After being a budget cut casualty at ESPN 980 last month, Nick Ashooh has landed on his feet. The Washington D.C. based personality is moving across town to join 106.7 The Fan.

On the network level, Seth Everett won’t be hosting on Sunday night’s any longer for NBC Sports Radio. He will remain involved on a fill-in basis. In the meantime, Everett has hosted on Baltimore news talker WBAL, and he’ll be sitting in for a few days on Sports Illustrated’s SI Now with Andrew Perloff.

An interesting development in Knoxville. Mickey Dearstone was let go from his position of Program Director and Host last week, but is still appearing on the station’s airwaves due to his involvement as the voice of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball. No word on why WNML chose to change direction.

Syracuse sports talk show host Mike Lindsley has added hosting duties on SB Nation Radio to his resume. Lindsley, who hosts weekdays from 3p-6p on The Score 1260, is hosting a new program called “The Saturday Tailgate“. The show airs every Saturday morning from 10a-12p ET.

While Lindsley’s addition may be positive, SB Nation Radio unfortunately had to part ties with a few of their staff members last week due to budgets. Lewis Woodard, and Will Palaszczuk, were among the on-air casualties. Each host is looking for their next opportunity.

Former NFL player and WDAE midday host Ian Beckles has signed on with Radio Influence to create a new weekly podcast.

In Portland, 750 The Game has added Devon Pouncey to its staff. Pouncey is originally from the Bay Area.

As one door closes, another one opens. Seth Stokes has left “The Swain Event” in order to join 106.3 WORD as a news reporter and digital content creator. With Stokes departing, Daniel Lewis has been named his replacement alongside Jayson Swain.

On the satellite radio airwaves, Robert Brender made his debut this past Saturday, hosting alongside former MLB manager Kevin Kennedy. The duo hosted the 4p-7p ET shift. No word yet on if it was a one-time test run or a program which SiriusXM will add to its weekend schedule.

TribLive Radio in Pittsburgh has reached a deal with Jordan Hall to cover NCAA and NFL football this fall.

The news isn’t as positive at CSN Philadelphia. The TV station has chosen to cancel their morning show “Breakfast on Broad“. Personalities involved with the show are expected to contribute to the TV station’s other local programs.

The post-Mike Goldberg era is beginning for the UFC. The company’s next pay per view will feature Jon Anik handling play-by-play alongside Joe Rogan. Dana White previously said he had a dream team of broadcasters in mind. Although this pairing should be very good, it doesn’t seem to be the out of the box combination White had been hinting at.

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Pat McAfee Defends His Intellectual Property on Show

A YouTube user had been using videos from McAfee’s show on his own channel and monetizing them.

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Intellectual property is the most important asset a content creator has in the digital space. That’s why it should not come as a surprise when Pat McAfee took to his show today to defend his.

A YouTube user named AntSlant had been acquiring video from Pat McAfee’s daily show for a while and putting it on his YouTube channel as his own content for months. McAfee has been a hot commodity and it seems that the personality may have been alerted to this activity thru potential future partners and their social searches. McAfee apparently reached out and sent a warning and today he addressed the account in what he called a little “house cleaning.”

“I have funded everything that you see (referencing his studio),” McAfee began. “Whenever you talk about stealing people’s footage, stealing people’s content and putting it up on the internet – so you can benefit from it – I don’t know how you think that the person that created, funded and paid for the content, worked their dick off, and their ass off amongst their peers and did everything – how they are the scam artists in this entire thing and not the account.”

Pat McAfee started referencing the offending account’s ability to monetize the videos. “We looked it up because we have this ability, [they] probably made $150,000 off of our content – not remixing the content, not getting in there and speaking and being a content creator – ripping content from us. Putting it together putting it up as their own videos and marketing it as if they work for us. And never reaching out to us one time. Not one time.”

The value of this content is immeasurable especially considering the account using McAfee’s IP is on the same platform (YouTube) as he is. McAfee add, “no network would just let you take their shit and profit off it. Nobody on Earth would let you do that.”

McAfee then revealed that he would partner with another YouTube account Toxic Table Edits. That account, which was doing the same thing as AntSlant, created a community around the Pat McAfee Show image. Things went differently for Toxic because when contacted by McAfee, the owner of that account responded “like a human”. Now the two will partner on future projects.

A Twitter account with the name @AntSlant did tweet shortly thereafter saying that the videos McAfee discussed had been deleted from his YouTube channel.

Upon an inspection of a YouTube account named AntSlant, the videos are no longer.

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Parker Hillis Named Brand Manager of Sports Radio 610

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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

Schopp & Bulldog: NFL Has To Figure Out Pro Bowl Alternative That Draws Same Audience

“The game just could not be less interesting.”

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After years of criticism and declining television ratings, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell publicly stated this week that the Pro Bowl, as it is currently contested, is no longer a viable option for the league and that there would be discussions at the league meetings to find another way to showcase the league’s best players.

Yesterday afternoon, Schopp and Bulldog on WGR in Buffalo discussed the growing possibility of the game being discontinued, and how the NFL could improve on the ratings it generates with new programming.

“The same number of people [who] watched some recent… game 7 between Milwaukee and Boston… had the same audience as the Pro Bowl had last year,” said co-host Chris “The Bulldog” Parker. “….Enough people watch it to make it worth their while; it’s good business. They’ll put something in that place even though the game is a joke.”

One of the potential outcomes of abolishing the Pro Bowl would be replacing it with a skills showdown akin to what the league held last year prior to the game in Las Vegas. Some of the competitions held within this event centered around pass precision, highlight catches and a non-traditional football competition: Dodgeball. Alternatively, the league could revisit the events it held in 2021 due to the cancellation of the Pro Bowl because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included a virtual Madden showdown and highlight battle, appealing to football fans in the digital age.

Stefon Diggs and Dion Dawkins of the Buffalo Bills were selected to the AFC Pro Bowl roster this past season, and while it is a distinct honor, some fans would rather see the game transformed or ceased entirely – largely because of the risks associated with exhibition games.

In 1999, the NFL held a rookie flag football game on a beach in Waikiki, Hawaii before the Pro Bowl in which New England Patriots running back Robert Edwards severely dislocated his knee while trying to catch a pass. He nearly had to have his leg amputated in the hospital, being told that there was a possibility he may never walk again. Upon returning to the league four seasons later with the Miami Dolphins, Edwards was able to play in 12 games, but then lost his roster spot at the end of the season, marking the end of his NFL career.

“You might not want to get too crazy with this stuff, but there’d have to be some actual contests to have it be worth doing at all,” expressed show co-host Mike Schopp. “Do you not have a game? I don’t know.”

The future of the Sunday before the Super Bowl is very much in the air, yet Goodell has hardly been reticent in expressing that there needs to be a change made in the league to better feature and promote the game’s top players. In fact, he’s been saying it since his first days as league commissioner in 2006, evincing a type of sympathy for the players participating in the contest, despite it generating reasonable television ratings and advertising revenue.

“Maybe the time has come for them to really figure out a better idea, and maybe that’s what’s notable [about] Goodell restating that he’s got a problem with it,” said Parker. “If there’s some sort of momentum about a conversation [on] creating a very different event that could still draw your 6.7 million eyeballs, maybe they’ll figure out a way to do something other than the game, because the game just could not be less interesting.”

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