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Under The Radar – May 1, 2017



Although the cuts at ESPN dominated the sports media coverage last week, there were a few other stories that took place too which received less attention. A reminder, you can pass along news, tips, press releases and promotional items via email at Now on to this week’s developments.

ESPN Syracuse host Brent Axe conducted an excellent interview with former ESPN executive John Wildhack who now serves as Syracuse’s Athletic Director. Wildhack, who was part of the inner circle that made key business decisions on retaining the network’s play by play deals with the NFL, NBA and MLB, explained why those deals made sense, and addressed some of the differences between opinion and journalism and why FOX Sports 1 isn’t on the same level with the worldwide leader in sports. To hear the conversation, click here. The ESPN discussion occurs thirteen minutes into the interview.

Speaking of ESPN cuts, after being fed the grim news last week that his run with the network had come to an end, longtime NFL reporter Ed Werder is jumping right back into action. Werder has teamed with former ESPN Dallas radio host Matt Mosley to create The Doomsday Podcast. An episode is expected to launch on Monday with Werder addressing his departure from the company. To hear it click here.

A tip of the cap to Arizona Sports 98.7FM who received positive praise from their local audience for their NFL Draft coverage. The radio station featured afternoon hosts Dave Burns and John Gambadoro, morning man and former NFL player Ron Wolfley, and longtime ESPN College Football analyst Mark May who was recently part of the network’s cuts. Not only did Gambadoro break the news of who the Cardinals were selecting, but the blend of all four men on the broadcast resulted in numerous social media responses from listeners adding that they were enjoying the draft with the volume down so that they could enjoy hearing what the group were providing on the radio station.

WFAN is celebrating 30 years of sports broadcasting excellence. As part of it, the radio station has created a web page which features classic audio moments throughout the years, and poll questions built around memorable teams and athletes from the past three decades. The Fan has also announced a special 30-year Anniversary Show will take place on June 22nd live from Grand Central Station in New York City. One former personality who has confirmed he’ll appear at the event is WABC midday host, and former WFAN host Sid Rosenberg. For more information on The Fan’s anniversary click here.

Former Cleveland Browns GM Phil Savage, who was also part of ESPN’s cuts last week, yet remains involved hosting shows for SiriusXM NFL Radio and serving as Alabama football’s color analyst, has published a new book “4th and Goal Every Day.” Savage is making media appearances in support of the new book. To reach him click here.

92.9 The Game in Atlanta and evening host Mark Zinno have ended their relationship. No word yet on who will take over evenings for The Game, Zinno meanwhile is looking for his next opportunity. The talented host can be reached by email by clicking here.

Moving north to the nation’s capital, 106.7 The Fan will hold its 4th annual Fan Fest event this Saturday at the Nova Field House. The event is free to the public and runs from noon to 3pm ET. Included in the day’s festivities are a Nationals youth baseball clinic, PGA Golf instruction, and autograph sessions with current and former Redskins players Josh Norman, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien. The Fan’s on-air personalities will also be present. For more information click here.

Rogers Media has acquired Adult Standards CSIL 650 AM from the Newfoundland Capital Corporation. As part of the purchase, Rogers is expected to flip the radio station’s format to sports sometime this fall. Rogers landed the radio rights to the Vancouver Canucks this past March.

Congratulations is in order for Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score and ESPN Radio‘s Sarah Spain. The two Chicago based sports personalities earned a Peabody award in the public service category for their video which shined the light on harassment of women in sports. To see the video click here.

In addition to contributing to 106.7 The Fan on a part time basis, former ESPN 980 host Nick Ashooh has been hired by CSN Mid Atlantic to provide digital content to its platforms.

Staying in the digital space, some unfortunate news to share out of New York City. Jake Brown who had spent the past 3 years working for CBS Radio as its Digital Content Manager was laid off last week due to budget cuts. Brown’s show will continue on CBS’ but he’s looking for his next opportunity. To reach him by email click here.

Shifting gears to sports agency news. ICM Partners have signed ESPN host Jonathan Coachman and NFL Network host Erin Coscarelli. Coachman will be represented by Ted Chervin, Heather Karpas, Matt Sorger and Mark Zimmerman. Coscarelli will have Zimmerman, and Lou Oppenheim, Courtny Catzel, Will Horowitz, Justin Ianda, and Tyler Kroos handling her affairs.

The MLB Network added former Indians, Phillies and White Sox slugger Jim Thome as an analyst last week. Thome will contribute on a part-time basis. He also serves as a special assistant to White Sox GM Rick Hahn.

Stephen Cohen is leaving the Seattle Seahawks beat to focus on general news reporting at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Michael-Shawn Dugar will take over for Cohen.

After nine years at The Big Lead, Tyler Duffy has announced he’s leaving the website. Duffy recently served as the site’s Senior Writer.

Brian Dunshee has announced that he’s joining SB Nation’s On The Banks where he’ll contribute to the site’s coverage of Rutgers football.

Congratulations goes out to Kyle Crooks who was added as a new play by play broadcaster at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Sports Radio News

Doug Franz Launching Sports Betting Podcast, ‘Props Arizona,’ With Sean Lockhart

“I appreciate Doug & Wolf listeners more than they’ll ever know, and I’m excited for them to experience my new podcast Props Arizona.”



Following his dismissal from Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Doug Franz has found a new gig. Franz will join sports gambling expert Sean “Papa Bear” Lockhart to host a new podcast for titled Props Arizona.

Franz was a mainstay on Phoenix sports talk radio, co-hosting The Doug and Wolf Show in the market for 15 years. Parent company Bonneville Phoenix said Franz would be moved to a “digital role” in shuffling the Arizona Sports daily lineup last August.

But Franz said he was effectively fired. Soon after leaving 98.7 FM, he launched a daily podcast titled Doug Franz Unplugged.

Lockhart has been a mainstay in Arizona, consulting on sports betting and sales since graduating from Arizona State. He’s provided analysis for several sports betting podcasts and digital shows, in addition to his own website, for several years.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside Sean on this new podcast,” said Franz in the official announcement from gambling media company American Affiliate. “I appreciate Doug & Wolf listeners more than they’ll ever know, and I’m excited for them to experience my new podcast Props Arizona.”

For American Affiliate, which has several sports betting and investment properties in its portfolio including BetPrep and Wagers, Props Arizona is the first regional (or state-exclusive) spinoff of its Props City podcast.

Props Arizona is set to launch at the end of January. The show will be available on all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. A teaser for the show is currently online for download.

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Sports Radio News

Michael Irvin: ‘Shan & RJ Start National Conversations’

“Y’all stir the pot a lot on the national scene. Every time I’m out there I gotta hear ‘Jerry said on Shan and RJ 105.3’.”



Michael Irvin makes regular appearances on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. He is one of the many stars associated with the Dallas Cowboys that make time to talk to the hosts on the team’s flagship station. On Thursday morning, The Playmaker joined Shan & RJ and told them to be careful with the words they choose.

Irvin came on following a discussion of Mike McCarthy’s final conversation with the media for the season. During the segment, one of the host’s said it was the Cowboys’ coach’s “final conversation.” Irvin said that statement needed some clarity.

“You should have added ‘of this year’,” he said. “Because the national guys, they’ll pick it up and run with that.”

It isn’t just a matter of what was said. Michael Irvin says that the national media will pay attention to who said it was McCarthy’s final conversation with the media and jump to conclusions.

“Y’all stir the pot a lot on the national scene. Every time I’m out there I gotta hear ‘Jerry said on Shan and RJ 105.3’.”

The hosts laughed as Irvin made the declaration. Maybe they enjoyed the characterization. Maybe they knew he was telling the truth.

Plenty of national headlines have been generated by appearances from Jerry and Stephen Jones on the station. Although, to be fair to Shan & RJ, K&C Masterpiece has been at the center of plenty of those conversations too.

That didn’t stop Michael Irvin distilling Shan & RJ’s role in the national media conversation about the Cowboys to a simple sentence: “Y’all starting mess out here.”

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI

“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”



Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.

Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.

In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.

In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.

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