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Under The Radar – June 26, 2017

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Another full week of sports radio activity for your personal enjoyment. If you have personal or station news to share or a press release or details about an upcoming promotion, please send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Before we dive into this week’s stories, a quick update on the Barrett Sports Media Podcast. A number of you have inquired if it’ll be returning. Plans are for it to return in the next few weeks. As I alluded to during my last episode with Freddie Coleman, I had a health scare in May (luckily it turned out not to be serious) and was told by doctors to reduce my workload. My first priority is to assist my clients so that meant having to scale back some of my writing and the podcasts. Now that things are back on track I’m looking forward to bringing you some fresh material. Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming guests. If you work in the industry and wish to be considered for a future appearance please email me.

Now here’s this week’s news!

The clock may be ticking on Mike Francesa‘s final run with WFAN, but he isn’t going out silently. First, he had a heated verbal exchange with Brandon Tierney after a NY Post article profiled Tierney and his lack of interest in WFAN‘s afternoon drive slot. Then he exchanged a few words with morning host Craig Carton in an article in Newsday, one which Carton’s partner Boomer Esiasion took exception to. Now the NY Post reports that Francesa got into another verbal spat, this time with PD Mark Chernoff. According to the article, Francesa blamed Chernoff for losing in the ratings to Michael Kay. Given Chernoff’s history of going to bat for Mike, that sounds like sour grapes on Francesa’s part. If more develops on this story we’ll pass it along.

Congratulations is well deserved in Tampa where John Mamola has been officially named Program Director of 620 WDAE. Mamola has been with the station since February 2011 and had served as Assistant Program Director . Former PD Doug Hamand left in January 2016. Since then, Mamola has led the station as its interim PD. It’s good to see his hard work and results get recognized.

Speaking of WDAE, congratulations to midday host Tom Krasniqi who recently celebrated his 5 year anniversary with the station. T-Kras as he’s known works opposite Ronnie “Night Train” Lane weekdays from 9a-12p ET. Click here for more details about their show.

98.5 The Sports Hub may be unsure of who its future owner is but that isn’t stopping the Boston sports radio station from tackling important business issues. The Hub has announced that it has reached a new multi-year agreement with the Boston Bruins to continue serving as the team’s radio broadcasting partner. The Bruins have aired their games on the radio station since the 2009-10 season.

Longtime Washington D.C. personality Andy Pollin is invading the podcasting space according to the Washington Post. The popular host will debut his new weekly program on Monday July 3rd. Pollin will record the show in front of a live audience at the Chatter studio, the home of Tony Kornheiser‘s podcast, and be joined on site by a big-name local sports guest. The show is expected to run between 50-70 minutes.

WIP talk show host Glen Macnow is hosting a sports movie night in Philadelphia to help raise money for the Liberty Museum’s “Young Heroes Program“. The event will feature a cast of popular local personalities including Hall of Fame writer and WIP host Ray Didinger, Eagles radio voice Merrill Reese, former Flyers left wing Brian Propp and Saint Joe’s basketball coach Phil Martelli. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by clicking here.

In Dallas, Mark Elfenbein is doing some additional hosting for ESPN 103.3. He’s sitting in for Dennis and Cowlishaw during the afternoon this week, and will also be on the station on Monday July 3rd. Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle and former Oklahoma City sports radio host Tony Casillas will work with Elfenbein on the 3rd. Dallas Mavericks play by play voice Chuck Cooperstein is in with Elfenbein this afternoon.

It took place a few weeks ago but is worth noting that 104.9 The Horn have installed a new midday show. Trey Elling and Brad Kellner have been given the reigns weekdays from 11a-1p CT. For more information on the show click here.

WBBL in Grand Rapids are hosting their annual Field of Dreams game on July 20th. The event gives 20 listeners an opportunity to play in a baseball game at Fifth Third ballpark with on-air hosts Bill Simonson and Eric Zane. 9 of those 20 listeners will gain an additional opportunity to play at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers. For more details on the promotion click here.

Capitol Broadcasting in Raleigh have signed Erroll Reese and Kevin McClendon to contract extensions. The duo began hosting the program “The Sports Shop with Reese and KMac” five years ago on Buzz Sports Radio on the weekends. They then moved to middays two years ago, and just recently finished their first year in morning drive. Congrats to all involved.

In Vancouver, The Province reports that all signs point to Satiar Shah being part of the lineup at SportsNet 650. Shah had been working as a producer and on-air contributor for the Bro Jake Show on TSN 1040.

Meanwhile, Shah’s former station (TSN 1040) have added a new Vancouver Canucks reporter. Jeff Paterson has confirmed he’s joining the station and will report on the team at home and on the road.

In the writing world, Jordan Schultz has announced that he’s signed on full-time with Yahoo Sports.

Also, Ari Wasserman is exiting Cleveland.com to become the new Ohio State beat writer for The Athletic. He starts his new position on July 24th.

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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