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NFL Draft Coverage Plans Across Sports Radio

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As the NFL Draft takes center stage tonight on sports radio stations across the nation, most brands will capture the excitement from the comfort of their own backyard. There’s less of an emphasis being placed on broadcasting live from the site of the draft and more attention given to using the evening to extend local relationships with fans and advertisers.

In my opinion, that strategy makes perfect sense.

The main reason so many will be deeply connected to sports radio stations tonight is because people want to hear who’s being picked by each team. Where the content originates from carries less importance. If listeners have a say in the matter, they’ll take hanging out and interacting with their favorite sports radio personalities at a local event over hearing them broadcast from hundreds or thousands of miles away at the host city of the NFL Draft.

That said, if stations feel it’s worth the expense to send their crew to Philadelphia to broadcast live, and it results in a ratings and revenue increase, then that too makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, as long as it works. My only counter is “would the brand achieve the same ratings and revenue gain if it didn’t make the trip?”

Some sports radio stations with baseball play by play deals will have no choice but to miss out on the on-air opportunities provided tonight by the NFL Draft. Those who aren’t blocked by local games will seek to take advantage of the three day stretch by creating original programming and trusting their best on-air talent to bring it to life.

To give you an idea of what you can expect across the dial, I’ve assembled a detailed layout of what a number of sports stations are planning for their 2017 NFL Draft coverage. My thanks to all of the programmer’s who took the time to pass along their information. Be advised that there are many more stations who are doing the same things so if I didn’t include the local station in your town in this column, be sure to check out their Twitter or Facebook page to find out how you can celebrate the evening with them.

This is a great night for the sports radio format. If you love this form of programming and live in a city and can’t show your support for your local station by attending their NFL Draft event, help them another way – put on the radio and say awhile. I promise you it’ll be an enjoyable listening experience.

FOX SPORTS RADIO:

FOX Sports Radio is broadcasting live from the Hard Rock Café in Philadelphia. Coverage starts tonight at 8pm ET. FSR’s programming will be hosted by NFL insider Jay Glazer, FOX Sports’ lead college football game analyst Joel Klatt and FOX Sports NFL and college football analyst Chris Spielman. Anthony Gargano, FSR’s weekend host and the morning man for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, will also host a two-hour pre-Draft show on Thursday starting at 6pm ET.

ESPN RADIO:

ESPN Radio will broadcast Rounds 1-3 of the 2017 NFL Draft from Philadelphia. Dari Nowkhah will host the network’s coverage alongside Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL Front Office Insider Bill Polian, NFL Insider John Clayton and former NFL star and current ESPN New York 98.7FM host Chris Canty. The first night’s broadcast is scheduled to start at 7pm ET. Friday night’s program will begin thirty minutes earlier at 6:30pm ET.

SIRIUSXM NFL RADIO:

All three days of the draft will be presented on SiriusXM live from Philadelphia. Coverage airs Thursday and Friday night from 6pm-midnight, and Saturday from noon to 7pm ET. Listeners will be treated to the live announcements of all 32 teams’ selections through all seven rounds, plus interviews with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and dozens of draftees, general managers and coaches.

SiriusXM NFL Radio’s on-site broadcast team will include host Jason Horowitz, and former NFL executives and players Gil Brandt, Pat Kirwan, Jim Miller, and Phil Savage.

SIRIUSXM COLLEGE SPORTS NATION:

SXM College Sports Nation Channel 84 will air two nights of NFL Draft coverage starting at 7p ET Thursday and Friday night. David Moulton will anchor coverage along with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM & SiriusXM NFL analyst Mark Dominik & former college coach, SEC on CBS analyst, & College Sports Nation host Rick Neuheisel.

CBS SPORTS RADIO NETWORK:

The morning team of Gio and Jones will host a 4-hour draft night special for round 1. Coverage begins at 8pm ET. Prior to the draft show, Bill Reiter will host his evening show and set the scene for draft night from 6pm-8pm ET. Scott Ferrall takes over at Midnight to put a bow on the evening’s developments.

97.5 THE FANATIC:

The Fanatic is seizing the opportunity of having the NFL Draft in town by presenting two 3-hour shows for the draft’s first two nights. The station will go live from the site of the draft from 6p-9p with Geoff Mosher, Adam Caplan, and Joe Tordy. The trio of Devon Givens, Michael Bradley and Seth Joyner take over from Sugarhouse Casino from 9p-midnight. Additionally, former Eagles RB Brian Westbrook and afternoon host Mike Missanelli will take part in an exclusive ticketed event at Chima Steakhouse on Thursday night. The event runs from 7pm-9pm ET.

SPORTS RADIO 94WIP:

The Eagles flagship station will have a heavy presence on site at the NFL Draft. For round 1, former Eagles Ike Reese and Jamaal Jackson and Glen Macnow will contribute to the on-air coverage. A few special guests are expected to stop by during the course of the show. The station also plans to broadcast on location during days two and three, and says they’ll be heavily active capturing fan experiences and key draft day moments on Facebook Live.

FOX SPORTS RADIO 920 THE JERSEY:

With 920 being located just outside of Philadelphia, the radio station will take full advantage of the draft’s local proximity and send the Zach Gelb Show to broadcast his afternoon program on-site on Thursday and Friday. Gelb’s show will air 4pm-6pm ET both days.

97.3 ESPN:

The Atlantic City sports radio station will dedicate a big chunk of their programming time to covering the draft. Mike Gill’s afternoon show will also be live on location on Friday for an NFL Draft Party to recap round 1 and look ahead to the mid/late rounds.

SPORTSTALK 790:

The Houston sports radio brand may not have the Texans, but they do have a host with a connection to Philadelphia – Josh Innes. 790 will look to create a spark by sending Innes and former NFL defensive end Sean Jones to Philadelphia to broadcast live on location. Jones will be involved in middays with Adam Clanton, and Innes will host the afternoon show. Given Josh’s history in the city it should be an interesting few days.

WQAM:

In Miami, the home of the Dolphins will be dedicating six hours of coverage to the draft’s first night. WQAM plans to provide live cut ins from the Dolphins War Room in Davie (the team facility) while broadcasting on-site from the official team draft party at Hard Rock Stadium.

WBAL:

The flagship station of the Baltimore Ravens will broadcast from the Ravens Under Armour facility in Owings Mills. The station will have a talent on hand at the Ravens Draft Party for Round 1 providing live cut ins. On Saturday WBAL will provide on-site support from M & T Bank Stadium. The station says in total it will deliver 15 hours of coverage over all 3 days.

1010XL:

With the Jaguars picking 4th in this year’s draft, their local radio station plans to fire up the local fan base by hosting a joint broadcast with the team from Everbank Field. The event runs from 6pm-10pm ET on the first night of the draft. In addition, 1010XL will send a reporter to Philadelphia to provide on-site reports.

DENVER SPORTS 760:

iHeartmedia will lend support to the Denver Broncos by developing draft night coverage on two of its stations, Denver Sports 760, and flagship station KOA. Both brands will originate their programming from Centennial Lanes, the site of this year’s draft party. A minimum of 20 Broncos players are expected to be present at the event.

KFAN:

With no 1st round pick in this year’s draft, things should be less chaotic for the Minnesota Vikings. As a result, flagship station KFAN is easing into its coverage. The station usually broadcasts live from the Vikings draft party on the first night, but this year they’ll provide studio support for round 1. KFAN will add an on-site presence at US Bank Stadium on Saturday for the final day of the draft.

107.5/1070 THE FAN:

The Fan has a big draft party planned at a local venue in Indianapolis. Afternoon host JMV will lead the station’s coverage alongside midday host and former NFL player Big Joe Staysniak, Colts analyst and former NFL/college football coach Rick Venturi, and on-air host and station program director Greg Rakestraw. The show runs from 7pm-10pm CT. Colts players Jack Doyle and Darius Butler are scheduled to appear and sign autographs and pose for photos with fans.

790 THE TICKET:

The Ticket may not be the official radio partner of the Dolphins but that won’t stop them from acting like it. 790 will send a reporter to Dolphins HQ to provide cut ins, and broadcast live from Dave & Buster’s for round 1. To help their coverage stand out, The Ticket will utilize former Miami Hurricanes and current FIU coach Butch Davis, and former Hurricanes and NFL star DJ Williams. Both men have been frequent contributors to the station’s programming.

105.3 THE FAN:

Being the home of the Cowboys has its privileges. One of those perks includes broadcasting from the Star in Frisco on draft night. In addition, The Fan will also be heavily involved hosting draft parties throughout Dallas in conjunction with Pluckers wing bar. The station will be active at seven locations with on-air personalities making appearances at different locations.

SPORTS RADIO 1310 THE TICKET:

The Ticket will provide wall to wall coverage of the 2017 NFL Draft from start to finish. Norm Hitzges and Donovan Lewis will be live in Philadelphia broadcasting their midday show. Bob Sturm, David Newbury and Corby Davidson analyze the action from the Ticket’s studios, and David Moore and George Dunham will stake out positions inside the Cowboys Star in Frisco. Coverage times for The Ticket’s shows are 6:30pm CT on Thursday, 5:30pm CT on Friday, and 10:30am CT on Saturday.

93.7 THE FAN:

The Fan will host a live draft show from a remote location from 6p-midnight on the first night of the draft. Hosting the program will be Andrew Fillipponi, Dorin Dickerson and Paul Zeise. The Fan says they will also use a live podium feed to air each pick. Additionally, Filliponi will host a draft focused program on Saturday from 1pm-5:30pm ET.

104.3 THE FAN:

Denver’s sports radio leader is hosting a local draft party with afternoon hosts D-Mac and Big Al anchoring their coverage. Broncos safety Justin Simmons will make an on-site appearance and sign autographs for fans, and the station will have two insiders on location at the Broncos facility, and another stationed in Philadelphia providing on-site reports. The Fan will also dedicate studio and on location coverage for the second and third days of the draft.

SB NATION RADIO/ESPN HOUSTON 97.5:

Gow Media’s national network will provide live programming from Philadelphia in order to keep fans across the country informed of the latest selections during each round. On the local level, ESPN Houston 97.5 will send The Blitz with Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman on location to broadcast their show from the Saloon Door Brewery. Fred and AJ will be on site from 4pm-7pm CT and then it’s time to celebrate with local fans when each selection comes in.

SPORTS RADIO 930:

The Jacksonville sports station isn’t broadcasting live, and instead plans to capture the excitement of the draft’s first night differently. 930 will Facebook Live with fans inside of Everbank Stadium, offering instant reaction following the team’s 1st round selection. The station employed this strategy last year and felt encouraged by the results. You can learn more by checking out this link. https://www.facebook.com/SportsRadio930/videos/1034078463306115/

MIGHTY 1090:

Despite the Chargers bolting to Los Angeles, 1090 will host a special draft party from the Tilted Kilt in San Diego. Scott and BR will kick things off with a live broadcast of their afternoon show, before turning the airwaves over to Dan Sileo and Burt Grossman. The station will give listeners an opportunity to win a big screen TV at the event.

97.1 THE FAN:

Columbus’ sports radio station will take over Brew Brothers at Scioto Downs and turn it into their draft night headquarters. Beanie Wells, Tim Hall and Jeff Thitoff will broadcast a special NFL Draft pre-show from 6pm-7pm ET before the madness of the first round begins.

107.5 THE FAN:

The Green Bay sports radio station will camp out at Lambeau Field on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to make sure Packers fans are updated on the latest NFL draft developments! Part of the plan includes on-site giveaways, live coverage of each pick, and on-air analysis, insight and opinion on each Packers move from Bill, Rookie and Marques.

SPORTS RADIO 610:

The radio home of the Texans will broadcast 1st round coverage live from NRG Stadium, the site of the Texans annual draft party. Players and cheerleaders are expected to be present. The event is already sold out.

104.5 THE ZONE:

Nashville’s radio home for the Tennessee Titans will be on site broadcasting live from the team’s draft party at Nissan Stadium. Coverage airs between 6pm-9pm and in addition to keeping fans up to date on what the Titans do with their two first round selections, other perks will be available on site including locker room tours, inflatables, and appearances by Titans alumni.

105.7 THE FAN:

The Milwaukee sports radio station will celebrate the first round of the NFL Draft by broadcasting live from Cue Cub of Wisconsin. Afternoon hosts Gary Ellerson, Steve “Sparky” Fifer and Ramie Makhlouf will broadcast their program followed by an NFL Draft special that runs from 6pm-10pm CT.

Sports Radio News

NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role

The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.

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Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.

The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.

Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.

Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.

In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.

In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).

One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.

Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

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Sports Radio News

Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance

Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.

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USA Today

The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.

Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.

Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”

Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”

Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”

Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”

Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”

And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”

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Sports Radio News

The Rundown With Jeff Michael Coming To SportsMap Radio

“The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6.”

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Jeff Michael is getting a promotion at SportsMap Radio. He is moving from the part-time staff into a new midday show.

The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6. The network describes the new two-hour show as energetic and fast-paced.

“Sports talk radio always meant the world to me,” Jeff Michael said in a press release. “Having an opportunity to reach such a large national audience is something I do not take lightly. While I’m so grateful for the opportunity, my focus will always be on creating captivating and informative content.”

Michael has been with SportsMap Radio since 2020. He has also been a prolific host in the podcasting space.

“I feel this is a perfect format for Jeff to excel,” CEO David Gow added. “From listening to fill-in appearances, you can tell he has tremendous command of his audience. You cannot easily teach what Jeff Michael already possesses.”

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