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Under The Radar – April 24, 2017

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There’s never a slow week in sports media, and the past week was no exception. Here’s a look at a few news items which you might not be aware of. As always, if you have a news tip, press release or station promotion to share, you can pass it along via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Sources tell BSM that an internal change is taking place inside the ESPN Radio network. VP of ESPN Audio Dave Roberts, who also oversees production for First Take, is turning his focus towards more of ESPN’s television programming. With Roberts shifting to television, Marcia Keegan, ESPN’s VP of Production since 2007 is expected to assume a larger role inside the ESPN Audio division.

The good times keep on rolling for 101 ESPN in St. Louis. The station finished the winter book in 3rd place among Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p. Their afternoon show The Fast Lane led its time slot, finishing 1st. The Bernie Miklasz Show registered a 3rd place finish in mornings, and in middays, The Kevin Wheeler Show was 4th and The Turn with Anthony Stalter and Chris Duncan came in 5th. A very impressive showing by St. Louis’ dominant sports radio brand.

Congrats to both 98.5 The Sports Hub and WEEI on a strong performance in the Boston winter ratings book. The Hub finished ahead in the key three dayparts (morning, middays and afternoons) but WEEI has closed the gap significantly. The station is up year to year by 14% while the Hub has dropped 15% during that time. With the Red Sox back on the field and both station’s shows firing on all cylinders it’ll be interesting to see how the competition between these two elite sports radio brands develops during the next quarter.

Following its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, the much anticipated television premiere of the Mike and the Mad Dog 30 for 30 will debut on Thursday July 13th. The documentary is scheduled to air that night at 8pm ET on ESPN.

After learning last week that his longtime on-air partner Terry Foster was retiring, 97.1 The Ticket host Mike Valenti announced that he has no desire to fill the seat which Foster has occupied for over a decade. Valenti said that doing so would feel wrong and disrespectful, and if or when it makes sense to add a co-host to the show, those intentions will be announced. For now he plans to host the afternoon show solo on the Detroit sports radio station.

With Andy Gresh now in Providence hosting evenings for WPRO, his former radio home WTIC in Hartford has decided to go in a different direction in afternoons. As a result, Gresh’s partner Joe D’Ambrosio will no longer host a daily show on the radio station. D’Ambrosio will continue to be hear on the station as the play-by-play voice of UConn football and men’s basketball, and he’ll step in from time to time as a fill in talk show host.

Chris LoPresti has announced that he’s stepping down as WFAN‘s New York Jets reporter, a position he held for the past four seasons. The search for his replacement is already in progress.

Congrats to Rick Camp who enjoyed his maiden voyage hosting on 670 The Score in Chicago this past weekend. The longtime producer was given an opportunity by program director Mitch Rosen to host Sunday morning from 7am-9am CT. Camp is hopeful of gaining additional chances to grace the windy city airwaves in the future.

Westwood One has agreed to distribute the new eSports program, Checkpoint Radio, which is a product of Rick Scott and Associates, and Kevin Graham‘s Ripple Content. The show is hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Joe Sloan and Norris Howard and runs two-hour in length. For more information about the show click here.

Richard Deitsch shared a great sports media story which is worthy of being re-told. During an on-air interview with Darren McFarland on 102.5 The Game in Nashville, NHL play-by-play man Doc Emrick shared his email address over the airwaves, encouraging young broadcasters to contact him if they wanted his feedback on their work. A classy gesture from the NHL’s top broadcaster.

Sports Radio News

Craig Carton Making Responsible Gambling Content For FanDuel

“He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.”

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FanDuel announced yesterday that it has hired its first ever “responsible gaming ambassador”. WFAN’s Craig Carton has agreed to take on the role. He has been open about his gambling addiction and advocated for those that believe they have a problem to seek help on air since returning to New York radio last year.

The content he creates for FanDuel will have a very specific focus. A press release says Carton will promote messages of “advocacy, prevention awareness and content development focused on the importance of wagering within limits”.

Craig Carton was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a ponzi scheme to defraud investors of money they were told was being invested in tickets for resale. In reality, Carton was using the money to repay some of his gambling debts.

“My story and personal history with gambling has been well documented,” said Carton. “More than ever, I want to use my experience and platform to shine a meaningful spotlight on the issue of problem gambling. It was important to me that I find a real partnership with a company that shared my passion for this issue. It became clear FanDuel shared the same goals and was comfortable working transparently with me for the sole purpose of protecting people.”

FanDuel is planning to utilize Carton in a number of ways. He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.

He will also create audio and video for FanDuel’s Play Safe Campaign. FanDuel will help Carton’s WFAN program “Hello, My Name is Craig” find a bigger audience. The show airs on weekends and features Carton discussing his addiction and offering advice to others seeking help.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Craig to place even more emphasis on responsible gaming behaviors,” said Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Everyone at FanDuel understands the importance of protecting our customers who are also our family, friends, neighbors and community members. Craig’s powerful personal story will help fuel our mission of making sure no bet placed results in hurting a loved one.”

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Sports Radio News

Marc Malusis: Stephen A Smith Spouting ‘Complete & Utter BS’

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

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WFAN’s Marc Malusis wants Stephen A. Smith to acknowledge that he either has inside information regarding the Nets or that he completely made up a trade rumor on First Take earlier this week. Smith said on First Take that the Brooklyn Nets would trade Kyrie Irving to Philadelphia if it meant they got Ben Simmons back in return, but the idea has been nixed by Kevin Durant.

Stephen A. Smith accused some in the media of lying about his report. He tried to claim that he what said on First Take was that the Irving for Simmons deal is a trade the Nets could do. That was enough to sett Malusis off.

“This is just complete and utter BS,” he shouted. “I mean, get the boots on!”

Marc Malusis claims that the idea of an Irving for Simmons trade isn’t totally absurd. Having James Harden on the roster would allow Brooklyn to bring in someone that does everything well but shoot. Still, he says Smith framed his stance as something he knows happened and Malusis is adamant it didn’t.

He was even more upset that Smith would say people in the New York media “lied” about what Smith had said. Marc Malusis pointed out that when you are the local media, you have to dive into a rumor like that. It doesn’t just get to be something that was said on ESPN.

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

It sounds like Malusis’s greatest objection is to Smith’s indignation at the idea that someone took his trade rumor seriously.

“Don’t all the sudden start waking back and saying ‘everyone’s spewing lies about what I had to say yesterday’ because you know what? We had to weed through the BS of what you said yesterday.”

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Sports Radio News

104.5 ESPN’s Matt Moscona Sets Up $100K Donation to Local High School

”It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

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Guaranty Media and 104.5 ESPN in Baton Rouge recently invited a local Athletic Director from South Lafourche High School Brian Callais to come and promote an upcoming fundraising event host by Central High School on After Further Review with Matt Moscona.

During the phone interview, Callais informed listeners of the impact that Ida had on their school, including major damages to the high school that there are no funds to repair. Additionally, the school’s sports teams will be forced to travel for every game this season as their facilities are not fit to host other schools.

Little did Callais know, Matt Moscona had invited the founder of a Baton-Rouge-based cryptocurrency business called Game Coin to join him in the 104.5 ESPN studio to surprise Callias with a donation of $100,000 dollars to the school.

“This will go a long way,” said Callais after learning of Game Coin’s donation to his program. “Our [senior] student-athletes have not had a normal high school year since their freshman year…Their sophomore year, they were hit with the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to a regular senior year for them. It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

Gamecoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that is not totally for profit, as 4% of their 10% transaction fee goes to charitable donations to help youth sports groups.

“Growing up, I didn’t have everything that I thought I should have,” said founder of Game Coin David Mahler on Moscona’s radio program. “I just always wanted to be able to provide for people…and since I’m able to do that now, I added that as a part of Game Coin.”

Mahler also said in the interview that three more similar donations are already arranged and they will be announced within the next two weeks.

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