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Under The Radar – July 3, 2017

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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.

Sports Radio News

Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Sports Radio News

Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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