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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – May 8, 2017

Jason Barrett

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The news continues to trickle in from the world of sports radio. Here’s the latest developments that might have slipped by you. As a reminder, it’s a huge help to us when you pass along your information via email. If you or your station have news worth sharing, a tip, a press release or a job related change, please let us know so we can share your story with the rest of the format. Now on to this week’s stories.

After Terry Foster announced his departure from 97.1 The Ticket‘s afternoon show, the immediate question became “how will this impact Mike Valenti‘s future?” Does the talented host stay in afternoons as a solo act? Does he add a partner? Or does he explore a change of scenery? Well, it looks like the Detroit sports talker could have his eyes on the biggest piece of real estate in the format. According to the NY Daily News, Valenti is a finalist for Mike Francesa‘s seat on WFAN. Whether it’d be as a solo act or as part of a team show is unclear, but if Mark Chernoff decides to take a risk and install Valenti into drive time in the big apple, despite not having worked previously in the market (aside from a few fill-ins), it’d certainly be seen as a big risk. Risk taking though is part of Chernoff’s DNA (Boomer & Carton after Imus, no partner for Francesa after Russo left) and his track record when making big decisions is very strong.

Well wishes go out to Damon Bruce of 95.7 The Game. The San Francisco afternoon host is recovering from a health scare. No time frame has been given for his return to the airwaves but knowing D-Bruce, expect him to be focused on getting healthy so he can get back to doing what he loves. To send a positive thought his way via Twitter click here.

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons deserves a round of applause for helping create an entertaining radio moment last week. After beating the New York Yankees, the Jays skipper dialed into SportsNet 590 The Fan‘s postgame show “Jay’s Talk” as “John in the Bronx” and proceeded to ask host Mike Wilner if he agreed that Marco Estrada is one of the best pitchers in the league. He also busted Wilner’s chops about being wrong on the pregame shows and capped off the call up by asking about free tickets and Wilner’s ratings. To hear the prank call click here.

Bob Fescoe and Mike Welch of 610 Sports conducted one of the best interviews I heard on radio last week. The Kansas City morning crew welcomed former Chiefs running back Larry Johnson to the show. It was the first time Johnson had talked to the Kansas City media in seven years. During the course of the twenty six minute interview, Johnson was extremely candid and apologetic about many of the missteps he made during his career. It’s definitely worth a listen. Click here to hear it.

Congrats are in order for Kyle Bailey and Frank Garcia who have taken over the midday slot on WFNZ in Charlotte. The duo can be heard weekdays from 10am-2pm. To learn more about the show click here.

Sid Rosenberg continues to make news. The WABC radio host announced via social media last week that he’ll be making his debut on the CBS Sports Radio Network on Saturday May 20th. Rosenberg will be on from 10a-2p ET.

Tampa sports radio legend Steve Duemig says he’s officially done with treatments and hopes to return to WDAE soon. Duemig has been battling brain cancer and has been sidelined since February.

After hearing from multiple sources that Chris Cantore‘s stint at the Mighty 1090 had ended, the information has now been confirmed by Cantore himself. The San Diego radio veteran is out after just five weeks. No word yet from 1090 on who will replace him.

Pete Sheppard has been making hosting appearances on ESPN SWFL (Southwest Florida) 99.3FM, a Beasley owned radio station. The former Boston sports radio host moved south to the sunshine state a few months ago and has been filling in from time to time.

In the Omaha sports radio winter ratings, 1620 The Zone remained the market’s leading sports radio brand. The radio station placed 5th with Men 25-54 M-F 6a-7p and 6th with Men 25-54 M-SU 6a-Mid. Local competitor ESPN 590 was 9th in both categories. The Zone was particularly strong in mornings. Sharp & Benning registered a 3rd place finish, which was best on the station for the quarter.

Congrats go out to Jason Wechsler who has been hired by 101.3 ESPN in Burlington, VT. Jason says he’ll be with the station through Labor Day helping to produce the afternoon show and provide on-air updates.

Two hours outside of Washington D.C. in Hopewell, Virigina, FOX Sports Radio 96.9FM/1340AM has made a roster addition. Dean Perretta is joining the station. He’s expected to serve in a reporter role.

Now for some bad news. The ESPN layoffs didn’t only impact television. ESPN Los Angeles anchor, reporter and host Jeff Biggs confirmed that after six years with the station he was let go.

iHeartmedia also made company wide cuts last week. Unfortunately they claimed two veteran sports radio hosts in the process. Matt Shepard was ousted from WDFN in Detroit, and longtime host and reporter Mike Jurecki was let go in Phoenix at FOX Sports 910. News/Talk 850 KOA also lost its Sports Director Mark Johnson.

Job cuts also made their way to Northeast Pennsylvania. Tom Ferguson announced that his time with Times Shamrock’s NEPA ESPN Radio and ALT 92.1 had come to an end. The elimination of his position was due to corporate restructuring.

Barstool Sports created an excellent spoof with Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett. In the video, Brett types up a blog and presents it to the Barstool staff for approval. After discovering barbecue sauce on the keyboard, the staff make the decision to deny Brett’s submission, which sends the former third baseman into a rage. It’s a well done bit playing off of Brett’s infamous pine tar incident during his playing days. To watch click here.

Congrats to Peter Mundo who has struck a deal between his Big 12 media outlet Heartland College Sports – Independent Big 12 Sports Blog and USA TODAY Sports. Mundo says that as part of the agreement, USA Today will have no editorial control over the site, but the partnership will help his brand expand into different platforms, along with receiving support on the advertising front, as well as accessibility to events, news and information.

ESPN has launched a new podcast.“The Basketball Analogy,” features a rotating lineup of NBA insiders, writers, reporters and hosts covering the latest news and analysis. Involved are Amin Elhassan, Brian Windhorst, Tom Haberstroh, Kevin Arnovitz, Tim MacMahon, Kevin Pelton and Cassidy Hubbarth. Rachel Nichols, Pablo Torre and Ohm Youngmisuk will also lend their voices and perspectives to the podcast. Episodes will be provided daily during the post-season and through the NBA Draft.

Turning our attention further north, SportsNet 590 The Fan has launched a new podcast. Point Taken will debut on May 10th and feature hosts Greg Brady and Caroline Cameron. The pair say they plan to conduct conversations with athletes, actors, musicians, broadcasters, and anyone they can bribe to appear.

A special thanks to everyone who’s listened to the BSM Podcast episode 12 featuring Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News and Bryan Curtis of The Ringer. The program was listed in the top 10 of sports media podcasts, which is remarkable given that the program is produced without the backing of a major company or distributor. My sincere thanks to everyone for listening, sharing, and supporting the program. Be sure to leave a review on iTunes and if there’s something you’d like to hear explored on a future episode feel free to pass along your suggestion via email.

Sports Radio News

Danny Balis Joins 97.1 The Freak

“I feel kind of nervous because I haven’t done this in a long time. I thought this may not ever happen to me again, to do radio with people I’ve known for a very, very long time.”

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Longtime Sportsradio 96.7/1310 The Ticket producer Danny Balis is joining 97.1 The Freak in Dallas.

Balis was introduced Monday as the newest member of The Downbeat cast, which already features Mike Rhyner, Mike Sirois, and Michael Gruber.

“He was the one I want, and I get what I want here,” Rhyner said during Monday’s announcement.

“I’m excited,” said Balis. “I feel kind of nervous because I haven’t done this in a long time. I thought this may not ever happen to me again, to do radio with people I’ve known for a very, very long time.”

Balis left The Ticket in May, citing an interest in focusing on other areas of his life outside of radio. He served as a producer at the station for 22 years before stepping aside. At the time, he said “The room for growth for me up here is not going to open up until all you knuckleheads retire,” the 54-year-old joked.

In addition to his work with The Freak, Balis continues to co-own the Twilite Lounge in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

97.1 The Freak launched in October, and features a “broad-based, personality driven format” that features several former Dallas sports radio personalities including Rhyner, and Ben and Skin among others.

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Sports Radio News

Shan & RJ: We Have Questions About Jerry Jones But Washington Post Report Isn’t One of Them

“We all have some skeletons in our closet, but to throw the weight of the word racist on anyone, you’re gonna have to come with more than that.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones found himself in the headlines last week ahead of the team’s Thanksgiving Day game, but it was largely seen as something that didn’t need to be dragged out into the spotlight, and 105.3 The Fan hosts Shan and RJ agreed.

The Washington Post last week published a photo from 1957 showing a 14-year-old Jones among a crowd of onlookers as white students tried to block the path of some Black students attempting to enter his North Little Rock, Arkansas high school.

The piece focused on Jones, who is the Cowboys general manager, never hiring a Black head coach in the entire time he’s owned the franchise.

On Monday, Shan Shariff said it seemed a bit much to use that photo and article to paint Jones as some sort of racist.

“There’s certainly a bunch of stories out there that we know on and off the record about Jerry Jones that makes me question his morals,” he said. “We all have some skeletons in our closet, but to throw the weight of the word racist on anyone, you’re gonna have to come with more than that.”

Cowboys insider Bobby Belt, who was filling in for co-host RJ Choppy on Shan & RJ, said Jones has likely evolved like a lot of people do over time. He didn’t think it was fair to necessarily say Jones was racist.

“I’m not gonna speak for anyone else but I don’t believe he’s racist,” Belt said. “I think there are enough people who have dealt with him who are African American who would tell you they don’t think he’s racist. But it’s still not a thing that you can just write off to ‘Oh I was just standing there.'”

Jones admitted to the Post that his football coach at the time told him and other players not to get involved or be among the crowd for that moment, but he went anyway.

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Sports Radio News

DiPietro & Rothenberg: NFL TV Partners Should Schedule Jets and Giants at Opposite Times

Jordan Bondurant

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For the first time in a long time, both the New York Giants and the New York Jets are factors in the NFL playoff picture. After years of both franchises occupying the bottom portions of the league standings, fans in New York and the surrounding area have a reason to believe. On DiPietro & Rothenberg on ESPN New York, Dave Rothenberg said he thinks the league should put both teams in more marquee windows.

“When you start to think about flexing games, you start to think about you know what, the Giants and Jets should be flexed into better time slots,” he said.

Co-host Rick DiPietro said it sucks now that both teams are playing well, fans are essentially forced to flip back and forth between games.

“It’s awful. It really is,” he said. “I wouldn’t say that it ruins the Sunday because that would be hard. But it’s not my favorite.”

Still, it’s not lost on Rothenberg that football fans in the city now have something to cheer for NFL wise as the last chunk of the regular season approaches.

“When was the last time the Jets and Giants in December had meaningful football games?” Rothenberg asked. “Years and years and years.”

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