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Under The Radar – June 6, 2017



Catching up on some news items from the past week. Here’s a number of developments that you may not have been aware of. To have your individual or radio station’s news included in a future edition of Under The Radar please send along any pertinent information via email to Now on to the news!

WEEI in Boston should gain a few extra ears on June 16th when the station utilizes Roger Clemens as a radio analyst for the Red Sox game against the Houston Astros. The game takes place in the city of Houston. Longtime Sox announcer Joe Castiglione will miss the 3-day Houston trip, and Clemens’ appearance is being billed as a one-day stint. No word on if other opportunities in broadcasting could be on the horizon for Clemens.

Former Boston Red Sox play by play announcer Don Orsillo will reunite with his former club for a day when he works the FS1 broadcast of the Sox-Astros game on Saturday June 17th. Orsillo will call the game with Eric Karros and Tom Verducci. In addition to national work, he serves as the lead voice of the San Diego Padres.

After previously announcing he’d reduce his broadcast schedule due to health problems, Fred Manfra was forced to adjust those plans and bring his tenure in the Baltimore Orioles radio booth to a close. The popular O’s voice worked his final series this past weekend. He is relocating to Tampa, Florida to be closer to family and says two knee replacement surgeries await. He’s previously undergone two hip surgeries and back surgery. Congrats to Fred on a storied run in the Orioles radio booth.

WFAN overnight producer Russell Mafes has announced that he’s exiting the New York sports radio station after spending the past decade working for them. His last day will be June 9th. Mafes says he has accepted an opportunity with the Nassau County Police Department and will be leaving the sports media business.

Speaking of WFAN, while the station celebrates 30-years of broadcasting excellence, and has featured some of the true heavyweights of sports talk radio, the true architect of its creation is Jeff Smulyan. The CEO of Emmis Communications made a special guest appearance last week on Mike Francesa‘s show and talked about the history of the brand, how the station was launched, and why he felt sports talk as a format could work in the big apple. It was an interesting interview. To hear the conversation click here.

Staying in New York, congratulations to Steve Cohen, Steve Torre and their Mad Dog Radio morning show, The Morning Men, featuring Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik. The show held its special event, FALcon 2017 for its dedicated listeners this past Saturday at Rock and Reilly’s in New York City. The event was well attended and included on-site appearances by Ed Hendry of FOX News and Andrew Perloff of The Dan Patrick Show, the show’s update anchor Maria Marino,  plus a call-in from Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. To hear the show on demand click here.

The Oakland Raiders have found a broadcast home in Las Vegas. Despite being a few years away from relocating to the city, the team has announced their games will air in sin city on Beasley Media Group‘s local stations News-Talk KDWN and Country KCYE.

A job well done by the folks at 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. On Monday, the station was tipped off that something big was developing with the Ohio State basketball program. It was expected the school would announce head coach Thad Matta would be leaving after the season. Instead, the news became Matta leaving immediately, all of it captured in real-time by The Fan’s staff while other market brands were removed from local programming.

The Los Angeles Kings have named Alex Faust as their new television play-by-play announcer. Faust takes over for Bob Miller, who retired this past April after calling Kings games the past 44 years. He’ll join television color analyst Jim Fox on FOX Sports West starting with the 2017-18 season.

104.5 The Zone received some unexpected recognition during the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on NBC. During last Monday’s game, the catfish thrower was captured on television wearing a t-shirt of the station’s Midday 180 show. That act generated a ton of media attention, and the Midday 180 followed it up by creating a GoFundMe account to pay for the Catfish Thrower’s legal defense with all proceeds over his fine amount going directly to the Nashville Predators Foundation. Tennessee Titans All-Pro Taylor Lewan was one of the early contributors to the fund.

Cleveland and Detroit radio personality Matt Dery produced a podcast highlighting the top 10 NFL play by play announcers. Green Bay Packers announcer Wayne Larrivee was given top honors To hear the podcast click here.

Allen Smothers has signed on to host mornings for 100.3 The Team in South Carolina. The show can be heard throughout 13 counties in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand regions of the Palmetto State. For more information about the radio station click here.

The University of South Carolina Athletics and IMG have signed a multi-year deal with 107.5 The Game in Columbia, South Carolina which will keep the station in place as the official flagship station for Gamecock Sports.

Sports Radio News

Peter Schrager: ‘Next Good Morning Football Host Has Massive Shoes To Fill’

“I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it.”



This week, Good Morning Football ended up winning a Sports Emmy for the best daily studio show. It is a show that has turned into part most football fans’ morning routines. However, there will be new people on the panel eventually with the departures of Nate Burleson and Kay Adams

This week, one of those left, Peter Schrager, was on The Pat McAfee Show. He did not have a name for McAfee that would fill the role Adams leaves behind and he isn’t going to interfere in the process of the executives picking the next host. 

“I would think that there is going to be a long line of people who will want that,” he said. “Those are massive shoes to fill. I don’t know where they are going for that and I don’t play coach or GM. I’m just going to sit back and if they ask my opinion, I’ll give it. But, for now, I trust the executives to hire someone who is going to take care of that hosting job.” 

As for Burleson’s seat, the show has used a number of ex-players to fill-in. Schrager likes it that way because he can learn many different stories each week: 

“Nate and I can finish each other’s sentences. Now, you have a guy I don’t know the story this player is going to tell. I don’t know where he’s going to take it and I think it’s kind of cool for us.” 

Last summer, Schrager hosted The Flying Coach podcast on The Ringer with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay. Unfortunately, there will be no season 2 of that show this summer. That doesn’t mean there won’t be another season of the podcast in the future though. 

“I won’t do it without McVay. I begged him. He’s just out….He’s getting married this offseason. He’s got his honeymoon. He’s like, we’ll pick it up another offseason. I’m upset. I love doing it. All these new coaches, Sean and I would have had a good time with it and we talked about it, but it’s his decision and he’s saying no and I totally get it. He’s really good at it and he liked it. He’ll have opportunities and you see some of these numbers that these guys are getting. Trust me, he’s aware.”

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Sports Radio News

Shan & RJ: ‘Inside The NBA Was Trying To Prevent A Riot Last Night’

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?”



Things were very far from normal on Thursday night on the set of Inside the NBA. During the postgame show, Warriors fans threw objects at Charles Barkley as TNT was broadcasting live outside of the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Friday morning on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Shan and RJ discussed the scene and said things felt out of the ordinary long before anything was even thrown.

“You know that moment? Everyone’s joking around. Everyone’s having fun, then someone doesn’t take the joke as a joke anymore and all the fun is sucked out of the room and things are awkward and serious?” Shan Shariff said. “That’s what happened yesterday on Inside the NBA both in the pregame and the postgame.”

Barkley had been picking on Warriors fans calling them annoying and describing San Francisco as having “dirty ass streets full of homeless people” throughout the series.

Shariff said even in the pregame show, it seemed that the Inside the NBA crew was wary of the crowd gathered behind them.

“It felt like yesterday instead of having fun and cutting loose, it felt like they were trying to prevent a riot.”

After a rolled-up t-shirt struck Barkley, he got up and acted as if he was going to throw a ceramic coffee mug into the crowd. Shariff said it was clear that Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith thought Barkley was about to be involved in an altercation of some sort.

RJ Choppy disagreed though. His immediate thought in seeing the video was that Barkley was just taking his ribbing of the crowd to the next level like a WWE superstar might.

“I think he knew the wrestling role, but I don’t think the other guys did,” Choppy said.

Sean and RJ expounded on the wrestling comparison, saying that he had a specific event in mind. He compared the way the crowd treated Barkley on Thursday night to how the crowd at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006 treated John Cena. Cena and security may have thought they knew what was coming, but it was clear when fans started throwing chairs at the WWE champ that their ire was more serious than anticipated.

There can be peace for the time being. TNT’s NBA season ends at the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals. It will be interesting to see if this animosity returns in the 2022-23 season.

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Sports Radio News

Don La Greca: ‘Howie Rose Was The Only Sports Talk Host As Passionate About Hockey As Me’

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose.”



Don LaGreca has been working on Rangers radio broadcasts since 2005, and has served as the backup play-by-play announcer for the last few seasons, filling in for Kenny Albert when he is unable to be on the call. Because of Albert’s responsibilities in calling national playoff games on television amid the new media rights agreement between the league and its partners (ESPN and Turner Sports), La Greca has called more Rangers games of late, and received positive reviews.

Yesterday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York, Kay mentioned the compliments callers have been giving La Greca for his ability to call hockey games, some of whom credit him for introducing them to the sport.

“The one thing hockey is is underexposed,” said La Greca. “Because you hear a lot of people say, ‘Boy, I didn’t realize how much fun this sport is; how great it is to go to a game,’ because a lot of us don’t grow up around it.”

La Greca realizes that he is in a unique position being the co-host of a sports radio show and an NHL play-by-play announcer, giving him a responsibility to communicate and opine on the game of hockey to his listening audience at large. He considers himself the second person to have such a distinction – the pioneer of which, while he may no longer be calling hockey games, still frequently discusses the sport on Twitter.

“When you look at the history of sports radio, the only person that I can think of that called games and was [as] passionate about hockey as I am that had a regular radio show was Howie Rose,” said La Greca. “And Howie Rose has been out of the sports radio game for 25 years.”

Rose was with WFAN from its launch on July 1, 1987 as its weekday nighttime host. Additionally, he served in the same role as La Greca, backing up Kenny Albert’s father Marv on Rangers radio broadcasts – where, in 1994, he delivered the illustrious call of Stephane Matteau’s game-winning, double-overtime goal in game 7 that sent the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. One year later, Rose left WFAN to begin calling games for the NHL’s New York Islanders on Sportschannel, and did not host a sports radio show during his time as a lead hockey play-by-play announcer.

While there are other sports radio hosts in the New York marketplace that exhibit a passion for hockey such as Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, La Greca is the only one who actively calls the games – akin to how Michael Kay is the only active New York sports radio host who regularly calls professional baseball.

“You don’t have somebody who is as close to the sport as I am to have this kind of forum, so maybe there are a few people like, ‘Hey, I’m a fan of Don. I really don’t like hockey, but he calls a few games so let me listen,’ and it kind of opened a door that otherwise wouldn’t have been opened” said La Greca. “….I don’t think it’s anything that I’m doing. It’s just an opportunity that I have, and it is humbling and it’s pretty cool to hear and I hope those people stick with the sport.”

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