Independence Day may be upon us but that doesn’t mean the sports media news cycle stops. A reminder, it’s helpful when you pass along any personal or brand information. We create UTR each week to keep members of the sports media business informed about the latest industry developments. Please do your part by forwarding any pertinent details via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
We hope you enjoy your July 4th holiday, but before you fire up the grill, drink a few cold ones and take a dip in the swimming pool, be sure to read the news and stay informed. Here are this week’s stories.
BSM has a few upcoming projects that will require additional contributions from industry members. If you have a passion for sports radio, an ability to write, a good ear, and want to increase your profile in the business, send an email by clicking here. There may be future opportunities to earn compensation but if money is your end game, it’s wiser to pursue other outlets that are working with higher budgets.
Budget cuts have claimed another talented programmer/on-air talent. Gregg Henson has been let go by iHeartmedia. Henson had been programming ESPN Pittsburgh and doubling as an afternoon talk show host with Jim Costa and Drew McCarthy in Detroit and Grand Rapids. To reach Gregg to discuss future opportunities email him by clicking here.
In recent months the media industry has seen a steady reduction in talented writers. Just last week FOX Sports and MTV made major changes to their digital approach, choosing to eliminate written content in favor of heavier video distribution. Although opinions remain split on the financial upside of written material, Clay Travis of FOX Sports Radio and Outkick The Coverage wrote an excellent piece on the future of sports writing. If you haven’t yet had a chance to read it I highly recommend it. You can do so by clicking here.
After decades of deadlines and covering every major sports development in the Bay Area, Mark Purdy has decided it’s time for a change. The exceptional wordsmith of the San Jose Mercury News has revealed he will leave the newspaper after more than three decades of providing journalism excellence. His final column will be published in August. In a piece this week where he announced his forthcoming departure Purdy said he’s not done writing but changes to the journalism profession have forced many to alter their approach and he’s looking forward to exploring new possibilities and enjoying a little more free time with his wife. To read the piece click here.
WEEI afternoon host Rich Keefe may not be invited over for dinner anytime soon by Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell. During Farrell’s weekly interview on the Boston sports station, Keefe asked about a local report about the team’s position coaches being frustrated with the Sox skipper over the way he was using closer Craig Kimbrel. Farrell denied the report and appeared none to pleased with Keefe. To watch their exchange click here.
Congratulations is in order for St. Louis Blues television personality Darren Pang. The outstanding hockey analyst has confirmed he’s agreed to a new three year deal to remain with the team and its television partner FOX Sports Midwest.
In other television news, the NFL Network has added a new reporter to its staff. Tom Pelissero has left the USA Today and will be contributing on-air and on NFL.com. He’s also expected to continue hosting radio shows on 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis and SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Dallas based radio host Matt Mosley, who has been working with Ed Werder on the Doomsday Podcast, revealed thru social media that he’ll be heard this week on the ESPN Radio Network. Mosley will work nights alongside Cincinnati talk show host Mo Egger and Joe Ovies of 99.9 The Fan.
In what’s being billed an upset of epic proportions, NBC Sports Radio has agreed to turn over the airwaves once again to Rob “Stats” Guerera. Mike Florio’s executive producer will host Pro Football Talk Live Tuesday morning July 4th from 6a-9a ET.
Former 95.7 The Game midday hosts Guy Haberman and John Middlekauff will be earning some air time on KNBR. The two men are scheduled to host on the Bay Area sports radio station on Monday July 3rd from 9a-1p.
The final fill-in news comes from Phoenix where Jody Oehler of FOX Sports 910 will earn an opportunity to present himself to a national audience this Wednesday-Friday. Oehler will step in on FOX Sports Radio for Rich Eisen.
A tip of the cap to 97.3 ESPN. The Atlantic City sports radio station won the Most Creative Localization contest of the Mike and Mike Dream Finals campaign. The station used Mike and Mike’s winning word and localized the promotion by tying in the station’s LPGA VIP experience promotion which rewarded a listener with an opportunity to play in the LPGA Pro-Am and earn an inside the ropes experience during the event. For winning the contest, the station received a $1000 gift card and an opportunity to be featured in a future case study by ESPN Radio.
In late May, ESPN Pensacola was abruptly shut down. As a result, Paul Chestnutt and Chad Brillante were left without jobs. Fortunately for both men, that stint on the unemployment line didn’t last long. Chestnutt has been hired by WPNN (103.7 FM and 790 AM) to host his hour-long “Sports Roundtable” show. Brillante has been added to The Ticket Sports Network (97.1 FM in Pensacola, 100.3 FM in Crestview-Fort Walton-Destin, and 93.5 FM in Panama City) to host afternoons.
Up north, Andy McNamara has shared that he’ll be hosting a new Wednesday night program across Canada called CFL Weekly. The show will be heard on the TSN Radio Network and focus on the Canadian Football League.
A couple of play-by-play news items to pass along. First, AJ Ricketts has been named the new voice of Florida International University football. Second, former Boston College and North Carolina State head football coach Tom O’Brien has been named the new radio color analyst for the Navy Football Radio Network. O’Brien takes over for Omar Nelson who moved into the position of Football Recruiting Coordinator.
Additionally in the play by play arena, SiriusXM MLB radio host and TNT television host Casey Stern will make his debut as an NBA play by play announcer. Stern is scheduled to call summer league action on NBA TV July 7-9. He’ll be working with Isaiah Thomas and Steve Smith.
Congratulations to accomplished writer and reporter Bruce Feldman. After enjoying stints with ESPN and FOX Sports, Feldman has announced he’s joining Sports Illustrated to cover and write about college football.
Greg Smith has announced he’s leaving the Gregath and Smith show on ESPN 1480. Smith has signed on to be a Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity. The website has also added Derek Peterson as a writer and Huskers football reporter.
Continuing with some additional writing news, former CBS Radio digital host Jake Brown has joined SNY on a part time basis. Brown will be contributing written pieces about the NY Knicks for the TV station’s website.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Dan Le Batard: What 790 the Ticket Did to Jonathan Zaslow Was Horrifying
“But what they did to Zas was horrifying. What they did to Zaslow after 18 years of service, calling him in and not giving him any explanation, awful.
The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz used its local hour portion of their podcast to discuss the folding of Miami’s 790 the Ticket. A large portion of the podcast also worked with The Ticket and they had many memories and thoughts on the end of an era for them.
Le Batard began by saying that they feel like they have grieved four different things in relation to the station, but it still stirred something when the news became official. Le Batard asked Stugotz, one of the founders of the station, what he felt when the switch happened.
“I wasn’t as sad as I thought I would be for a couple of reasons,” Stugotz said. “One: super proud of what we accomplished and built there. Secondly, and I’m serious about this, it probably lasted 17 years longer than what I thought it was going to last and for that I am thankful.”
The show went on to talk about one of the last pillars of the station, Jonathan Zaslow, being let go a couple of weeks ago and how that was the final connective tissue that many had to the station where they began.
“My connection point (to 790 the Ticket) was the people there,” began Mike Ryan Ruiz. “The final nail in the coffin was when they let (Jonathan) Zaslow go, who was one of the original 790 hires. They did so in a crude fashion, I felt but…”
“Oh it was crude. It was crude,” Le Batard jumped in. “And that is what got stirred for me. That’s what got stirred for me when, it seemed 790 was dead to me because of some of the stuff that happened with the Local Hour at the end that I found disrespectful. But what they did to Zas was horrifying. What they did to Zaslow after 18 years of service, calling him in and not giving him any explanation, awful. The awful part of this awful radio business.”
Ruiz said that Zaslow should have been given an explanation and it wouldn’t have taken much.
“In fact, the explanation Zaslow should have gotten was ‘we’re consolidating both stations and don’t worry, we’ll tell the Miami Heat for you,’. Should have been a nice little human touch in regards to the Zaslow thing.”
Kayla Anderson Added to 104.5 The Zone Morning Show
Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor to WKRN-TV in Nashville.
Kayla Anderson has been added to the 104.5 The Zone morning show, newly titled Ramon, Kayla, and Will, joining Ramon Foster and Will Boling on the Nashville station.
Anderson will begin hosting Wednesday morning. She has previously worked as a sports anchor, reporter, and digital contributor on WKRN-TV in Nashville. A graduate of Washington State University, she has also worked at television stations in Spokane, Missoula, Tucson, and Columbus in addition to her time in Nashville.
“After spending the last 15 years in local TV covering sports, I’m thrilled to venture into Sports Talk radio, joining 104.5 The Zone in the mornings with Ramon, Will and producer Jonathan Shaffer,” Anderson said. “I’m truly looking forward to hanging with this talented crew, talking sports, interacting with the listeners, and having lots of fun doing it!”
Anderson said on Twitter she is “so excited to join this group!”
Boling had been the interim host of the morning show after the August departure of Jason Martin.
Ramon, Kayla, and Will will be heard from 6:00 AM-10:00 AM each weekday morning.
Derek Wolfe Joining 104.3 The Fan as ‘The Drive’ Co-Host
I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive.”
Former NFL defensive lineman Derek Wolfe is joining 104.3 The Fan in Denver as Darren “DMac” McKee’s co-host on The Drive With Derek Wolfe and DMac.
Wolfe announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this year after signing a one-day contract to retire with the Denver Broncos. He was the franchise’s top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, spending eight seasons with the team, including a win in Super Bowl 50.
“To the listeners in Denver, ‘The Fan Wolfe-pack,’ I am so insanely pumped to talk with you every afternoon on The Fan. We had a special connection when I was playing for the Broncos that’s only going to grow stronger every day on The Drive,” said Wolfe. “DMac and I are going to fight sometimes, maybe we’ll fight a lot of the time, but we’ll always be working together to entertain you. I’ve always kept it 100 with you, and that’s not going to change one bit.”
“Derek is one of the most popular players in Broncos history, with the iconic image of his sack celebration in Super Bowl 50 forever etched in Denver sports lore,” said 104.3 The Fan program director Raj Sharan. “What’s so exciting about adding Derek is his connection with the audience goes far beyond his production on the field. He’s never been afraid to mince words and is unapologetically authentic. Those characteristics drew Denver sports fans to fall in love with Derek, and we’re thrilled to help Derek build on that relationship everyday as he entertains his ‘Fan Wolfe-pack!’”
Wolfe enters a role previously occupied by former Bronco Tyler Polumbus, who departed the station in September. The Drive with Derek Wolfe and DMac will be heard weekday afternoons from 2:00 PM-6:00 PM.