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Under The Radar – August 21, 2017

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BSM is Los Angeles bound for the week for the Podcast Movement Conference and to visit a few familiar sports media industry faces. If you have news to share on behalf of yourself or your organization and wish to be included in an upcoming edition of UTR, please send it along via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now onto this week’s industry developments.

BSM is pleased to announce the addition of four sports media members to our writing team. FOX Sports Radio host Brian Noe, 610 Sports General Sales Manager Dave Greene, former KHTK Program Director and 104.3 The Fan Assistant Program Director Kevin Sherrets, and former 620 The Buzz executive producer and SB Nation Radio fill-in host Demetri Ravanos will all be providing content for the website in the future. BSM still has a few openings so if interested in writing about sports media, send an email along with a writing sample by email by clicking here.

Congratulations to Gregg Henson. After being the victim of a budget cut in Pittsburgh, while performing a dual role as program director of ESPN Pittsburgh and co-host of Jim, Droo and Gregg for iHeart Detroit and Grand Rapids, the veteran host and programmer has landed a new opportunity. Henson has relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska where he’s joined Alpha Media as program director and morning host. Henson began his new assignment last Monday. Be sure to keep an eye out this week for his review of 5 Podcasts in 5 Days on SportsRadioPD.com.

This year’s NAB radio conference in Austin, Texas will include a special appearance by WEEI morning host Kirk Minihane. One of the most successful local sports radio hosts with a popular podcast that has outperformed industry standards, Minihane will take part in a panel titled “Radio’s New Strategies and New Platforms” with Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs and Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein. A live performance by songwriter and recording artist Robert Earl Keen is also planned for the session. For more information click here.

It looks like John Kincade will be staying a little longer in Atlanta. The 680 The Fan talk show host has confirmed he’s signed a new contract with the radio station to remain partners with longtime running mate Buck Belue. Buck and Kincade have been together for 17 years, and are on the verge of celebrating 4,000 shows together. Truly a remarkable feat.

Another congratulations is in order for ESPN Radio‘s Pete Gianesini who recently celebrated 20 years with the company. Gianesini has climbed the ladder to become a trusted part of the network’s management team, having made a positive impact on the careers of many who have worked under him. He currently serves as ESPN Audio’s Senior Director of Digital Programming.

WDAE in Tampa won’t be sticking around for the end of Mike and Mike and the start of Trey Wingo and Mike Golic. Instead, the station plans to introduce a brand new local morning show starting Monday August 28th. Details on the station’s new team will be available soon.

After 18 months writing and reporting on the Bay Area sports scene, Kevin Jones‘ time at KNBR has come to an end. Jones joined the radio station in February 2016 after working for the Cleveland Browns, Pro Football Focus, Sports Illustrated’s The Cauldron and radio stations 91.3 WZMB in Greenville, NC and WUSA-9 in Washington D.C. He’s looking for his next opportunity and can be reached by clicking here.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area, it’s good to see Mychael Urban getting more involved in sports media work again. Urbs as he’s known to Bay Area sports fans has been filling in on 95.7 The Game and working on a writing project for The Athletic SF.

SiriusXM is bringing in the ole ball coach. College Football Hall of Fame coach and quarterback Steve Spurrier has signed on to contribute three times per week on the College Sports National channel. He’s expected to chat on Tuesdays with Chris Childers and Rick Neuheisel, Wednesdays with Mark Packer, and Thursdays with Greg McElroy and Taylor Zarzour.

Speaking of satellite radio, it didn’t take long for Mitch Moss and Paul Howard to rise up the ranks at VSIN, the Brent Musburger fronted sports handicapping network which is carried on SiriusXM. Moss and Howard’s show, Follow The Money, which began in April in middays is moving to morning drive starting Monday August 28th. For more information on the show/network click here.

1500 ESPN in Minneapolis took advantage of the power of national celebrities to create a successful event for their audience. The radio station welcomed Mike Golic and Mike Golic Jr. to town for their first ever Fantasy Football Convention. Over 400 people attended the event which included a Q&A with the Golic’s, giveaways of Super Bowl tickets, Vikings tickets, 65′ TCL Roku TV, Mystic cash and 300 RotoWire Fantasy FB magazine giveaways. Minneapolis for a station event. To read about the promotion click here. For photos click here.

Former 670 The Score host and update anchor Matt Abbatacola has landed work outside of the radio industry. The former Chicago sports personality has been named Director of Sales and Marketing at The Health Guardian.

Congratulations to Denver sports media personalities Nate Lundy, Brad Evans and Lauren Gardner. After launching The Fantasy Football Hour television show last year with Brad Evans and Lauren Gardner on regional channel Altitude TV, the program will be extending its reach for the 2017 season. Lundy reports that the show will be carried by MSG in New York and on several FOX Sports regional outlets. The show will have the ability to reach roughly 70 million homes this football season.

T.J. Weber is returning to his alma mater, Lindenwood University, to become the school’s new play by play voice for football and men’s basketball. Weber previously called games for SIUE and the Gateway Grizzlies.

A tip of the cap goes out to 680 The Fan host Steak Shapiro who recently had his Atlanta Eats television show picked up and extended to seven days per week on Peachtree TV in the Atlanta market.

A former ESPNer is reuniting with Bill Simmons. Justin Verrier has joined The Ringer as senior editor of the website’s NBA section.

Bay Area sports writer Courtney Cronin has left the Bay Area News Group to join ESPN covering the Minnesota Vikings for its NFL Nation section. Cronin says she’ll be relocating to Minneapolis soon.

Morgan Beard is returning to Baton Rouge. The sports anchor and reporter has been added at WVLA Local 33 to cover LSU, the New Orleans Saints and other local sports stories.

Another reunion is taking place in Spokane, Washington. Alyssa Charlston is on her way back to work for KXLY-Channel 4 as a sports anchor and reporter.

Paloma Villicana has been hired as a sports anchor and reporter for WOAY-TV.

Sports Radio News

KNBR’s ‘Murph and Mac’ Examine Barry Bonds’ Baseball Hall of Fame Exclusion

The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly joined the show to explain Hall of Fame balloting in baseball’s steroid era.

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KNBR

Amid the current team owners’ lockout, now the longest in Major League Baseball history, the sport is still generating publicity. But the headlines have nothing to do with the labor dispute between the owners and players.

Generating debate is the controversial omission of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens from being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in their final year of eligibility.

This year, 394 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) voted in the election, with former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz being the only player on the ballot to surprass the required 75 percent threshold. Ortiz received 77.9 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

Bonds and Clemens both allegedly used performance-enhancing drugs during their careers, significantly impacting their candidacies for baseball immortality. There was outrage in many corners of the baseball world Tuesday night following the announcement, and widespread disappointment from fans of the game who feel that an apparent “blemish” on baseball history is trying to be forcibly erased rather than remembered.

On Wednesday morning, Murph & Mac on San Francisco’s KNBR welcomed The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly to their program to discuss the exclusion of Bonds from Cooperstown and the negative perception the voting process is receiving by members of the media and fans alike.

“In 2014, the Hall of Fame sort of unilaterally changed its rules and reduced the time you can be on the writers’ ballot from 15 years to 10,” Baggarly explained. “There’s no doubt that was intentional to clear the way for steroid-era players that would otherwise linger on the ballot forever.”

Bonds is widely regarded as one of the best hitters to ever take the field, and is baseball’s current record holder for both the most career home runs (762) and the most single-season home runs (73). He also won the National League Most Valuable Player award a record seven times, also receiving 14 All-Star Game selections and 12 Silver Slugger awards.

“When I hear guys like Chris Russo tsk-tsk… Bonds for using steroids, [I say] ‘What, are you kidding me?’” said Brian Murphy, co-host of the Bay Area morning drive program. “How widespread it was in the game, how owners and GMs and team presidents never told players that they would be facing penalties and kept giving them money, and everyone collectively participated? Now, [it’s] ‘No, Mr. Bonds, you can’t do that.’”

For those who are not members of the BBWAA, the perception of the Hall of Fame announcement has generated negative publicity for Major League Baseball during an already-contentious negotiation towards a new collective bargaining agreement. Baseball’s all-time home run leader in Bonds and a seven-time Cy Young Award winner are barred from Cooperstown – for now.

There is another way in, but it is sure to cause even more public controversy, according to Baggarly.

 “Now [Bonds] goes to the committees,” outlined Baggarly. “All of [these] committees meet twice every five-year period. It just so happens that the Today’s Game Committee will meet at the Winter Meetings in December… and they can consider as many as 10 individuals [for the Hall of Fame]… Can you imagine if the panel who elected Commissioner Bud Selig will be the same people who don’t elect Bonds? If you think the writers are getting blasted, just wait.”

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Sports Radio News

Parker Hillis Upped To APD At 104.3 The Fan

“Hillis has been at The Fan since April of 2019.”

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All on-air talent at 104.3 the Fan in Denver now reports to Parker Hillis. He has been promoted to become the assistant program director of that station and ESPN Denver 1600.

“Parker has been critical to the success of our Bonneville Denver sports properties,” 104.3 The Fan and ESPN Denver 1600 Program Director Raj Sharan said in a press release. “He’s absolutely earned this opportunity to take on increased responsibilities managing our sports stations on a daily basis.” 

Hillis has been at The Fan since April of 2019. He came from Dallas, where he worked for Audacy’s 105.3 The Fan.

With the promotion, the station is now looking for a new executive producer. Parker Hillis will oversee that search.

“I’m excited to work with our hosts in a greater capacity on a day-to-day basis,” Hillis said. “The opportunity to lead collaborative efforts among our amazingly talented team is truly an honor.” 

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Sports Radio News

Doug Gottlieb Calls Out Jeff Passan, Others Arguing For Barry Bonds in Hall of Fame

“Tell me a museum that puts an artist in it who cheated, who takes credit for what someone else did. Do you think it would hang in the Louvre?”

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The Baseball Hall of Fame election results were announced Tuesday evening with some big names up for induction. Most notably, David Ortiz was elected while longtime nominees Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were once again snubbed.

Many fans and media personalities believe Bonds specifically should have been inducted because of his on-the-field accolades and achievements. They seem to believe his alleged steroid usage is irrelevant. or at least not worth the snub.

Doug Gottlieb, on his Fox Sports Radio show, took the Hall of Fame’s side and called out ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who advocated for Bonds on television. The host used several analogies to explain why society does not honor those who have cheated in their respective fields. 

“The core of what you are as an athlete is how hard you work,” said Gottlieb. “You’ve got natural ability, how can you get better, and at some point you come to that end. Clemens and Bonds robbed Father Time, and they robbed baseball. Shame on you, Jeff Passan, calling it a museum. Tell me a museum that puts an artist in it who cheated, who takes credit for what someone else did. Do you think it would hang in the Louvre?”

Gottlieb makes a strong argument. As he mentioned, Bonds not only broke the rules but was also caught. While other players who used steroids may have snuck in somehow, Gottlieb compared it to being pulled over for speeding.

“It’s like you get caught speeding,” he said, “somebody else was going 90 and zips past you five minutes before you were speeding, and you’re sitting there going like ‘Yeah, I was speeding but that guy was going faster.’ That doesn’t actually work in real life.”

You can listen to the rest of Gottlieb’s thoughts at the Fox Sports Radio website.

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