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Under The Radar – November 27, 2017

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Activity in the sports radio business has been high the past month. Here are a couple of stories that have taken place which you might have missed.

As always, you can be included in this column by forwarding pertinent information about yourself or your brand to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news!

Trey Wingo and Mike Golic have officially taken over the morning slot on ESPN Radio. The pair who are accompanied by Golic’s son Mike Jr. for the first hour of the show began their tenure as the radio network’s new morning team this morning. To promote the new show, Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News caught up with Wingo and the NY Post did a detailed story on Golic which detailed how close he came to retiring when the decision was made to split up Mike and Mike.

One behind the scenes move related to the new Wingo and Golic program, Bristol production whiz Jerry Mailhot Jr. has been named the show’s new imaging producer.

Former WFAN morning host Craig Carton may no longer be on the New York radio airwaves but rather than sitting silently on the sidelines, he’s using the opportunity to launch a new podcast. Carton released a trailer for his new project and you can hear it by clicking here.

The Entercom-CBS merger has resulted in a number of leadership changes in major markets across the country. To read the entire list of managerial changes click here.

In other management news, congrats to Todd Markiewicz on being named the new President/General Manager of 97.1 The Fan and 1460 ESPN in Columbus, OH. He takes over for Dave Van Stone who is retiring.

A sports radio reunion is taking place in Detroit. After being let go in a round of layoffs, Matt Shepard has been brought back to WDFN-AM 1130 The Fan. iHeartmedia’s Detroit sports talker has returned Shepard to morning drive.

1230 “The Fan 2” in Atlanta has removed “The Regular Guys” from its program schedule. Former NFL lineman and co-host Bob Whitfield was taken off the show last month and now featured host Larry Wachs and his remaining cohorts are also done. The station is said to be shifting its focus in the direction of delivering more local sports content. On that note, one local name who’s expected to play a role on the station moving forward is Mark Zinno. The former 92.9 The Game evening host recently filled in for a few days on 680 The Fan. Zinno’s addition would provide a nice boost for David Dickey’s second sports station.

Congratulations go out to Mike Gill of 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City. The afternoon host and station brand manager was recently inked to a new contract to continue in current dual role.

A job well done by the crew at 102.5/610 The Fan WFNZ in Charlotte. The station held its annual Street Turkeys promotion last week and raised over fifteen thousand dollars plus received 865 turkeys and fourteen thousand pounds of food to help the Harvest Food Bank and Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry.

Take a few minutes of your time to read this fantastic piece on WEEI and NBC Sports Boston personality Trenni Kusnierek. The article highlights some of the challenges of sexual harassment that Kusnierek has had to overcome and details how she’s cut thru and gained acceptance in the Boston sports radio market.

Also in Boston, as a result of the Entercom-CBS merger and sale of 98.5 The Sports Hub to Beasley Broadcasting, Adam Kaufman had to relinquish his role with The Hub to focus on his duties with WBZ. Kaufman had been involved with The Hub since 2011.

CBS Sports programming czar Sean McManus visited with Dan Sileo on the Mighty 1090 in San Diego to discuss the current state of NFL ratings on television. McManus shared his views on viewing habits and why he remains bullish on the NFL’s drawing power. To hear it click here.

It’s not everyday you hear a baseball manager publicly share a near death experience on the radio airwaves but that’s exactly what took place in Kansas City. Royals skipper Ned Yost spoke with Bob Fescoe, Mike Welch and Josh Klingler about his scary situation. To hear Yost tell the story click here.

Chris Russell of 106.7 The Fan in Washington DC is being given an opportunity to host a few weekend shifts on the CBS Sports Radio Network. Russell hosted this past weekend and is expected to return next weekend as well.

In St. Louis, Nick Wagoner returned last week to his former city for a few days, teaming up with Anthony Stalter on 101 ESPN. Wagoner is now based in California and covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

Former CBS Radio CEO turned play by play broadcaster Dan Mason has been tabbed to call Coppin State women’s games this season. The school is broadcast in the Baltimore market on WNST 1540AM.

Memphis sports radio host Eli Savoie has landed the play by play role on Memphis Hustle broadcasts. Broadcasts this season are available via Facebook Live thru the team’s page and the NBA G League’s page.

Sports Radio USA celebrated a milestone with its 500th live NFL game broadcast on November 12th. The national play by play syndicator aired its first NFL game November 3, 2002. Founder and lead broadcaster Larry Kahn says the network is still going strong and growing and the network’s achievement is a testament to the league’s success and having help from a number of very talented individuals.

Winnipeg sports fans will be treated to seven more years of Blue Bomber football broadcasts on 680 CJOB. The Corus Radio group has extended its agreement with the team through 2024 giving CBOJ the opportunity to air all of the teams home and away games.

SB Nation Radio has brought back “In the Post” featuring NBA Hall of Famer, Elvin Hayes. The show is co-hosted by Joe George and features a mix of interviews and analysis from the biggest newsmakers in college and pro basketball. Listeners can hear the show live on Saturday evenings at 7p ET or via replay on Sunday at 8p ET on SB Nation Radio and local affiliate stations.

In the digital audio space, Jimmy Shapiro has launched a new podcast focused on sports betting. “The Hedge – Why I Gamble with Jimmy Shapiro” features different media personalities discussing the reasons why they bet on sports and what they look for in particular situations. The first episode features 95.7 The Game morning host Joe Fortenbaugh.

New FOX Sports contributor Howie Schwab recorded a podcast with ESPN’s Chris Berman. Boomer discussed some of the NFL storylines and his first season not occupying a main role on Sunday NFL Countdown. To hear it click here.

XTRA 1360 sports radio host Mark Willard has launched a new podcast titled “Ballers and Babies.” Former athletes turned radio personalities Mychael Thompson and Keyshawn Johnson have appeared on recent episodes. To hear it click here.

The NCAA has decided to ramp up its college basketball coverage by adding longtime ESPN college hoops insider Andy Katz. The exceptional reporter was a surprise cut during the last round of layoffs at the network. His addition should increase the visibility and quality of the NCAA’s digital and social content.

The Star Tribune in Minneapolis published a good piece on former NFL wide receiver turned ESPN NFL analyst Randy Moss. The article captures how Moss has transitioned into the media and has brought an infectious energy to Sunday NFL Countdown. To read it click here.

Proof that good things come to those who wait. The Times Herald Record in Middletown, NY has promoted sportswriter and columnist Ken McMillan to the position of Sports Editor. McMillan has contributed to the newspaper’s sports section for the past 17 years.

A great signing by The Athletic in San Francisco. The growing sports digital platform has hired the exceptional San Francisco Giants writer and reporter Andrew Baggarly. Baggs is expected to play a vital role in strengthening the brand’s Giants coverage.

In Phoenix, Richard Morin has been named the Arizona Republic‘s new beat writer of the Arizona Coyotes.

Congrats to Oakland Raiders Senior Editor and Team Historian Jerry Knaak on the release of his new book “The Dark Truth.” To learn more and purchase your copy click here.

Sticking with new releases, former ESPN producer Jason Romano has a new book coming out. “Live To Forgive” is available for pre-orders and will be officially released in January. For more information click here.

ESPN recently announced the addition of broadcaster and author Mark Kriegel. His contributions are expected to revolve around NBA and Boxing coverage with a variety of content coming in the form of long-form storytelling and video and print essays. He has previously contributed to the NFL Network, FOX Sports, the New York Post and Daily News, and Showtime.

Speaking of ESPN, last Wednesday night’s college basketball game between Tulane and Miami (OH) on ESPN3 featured a play by play voice with great bloodlines. Sam Ravech, the son of multi-talented ESPN studio host Karl Ravech, got his first taste of ESPN activity. No word yet on if other opportunities are forthcoming.

Hard work has paid off for Brent Schwartz. NFL.com has hired Schwartz in an entry level role to contribute to its web content. The NFL blogger is expected to relocate to Los Angeles in the next few weeks.

The Miami Marlins are making changes to their television broadcasts. Longtime play by play man Rich Waltz has been informed he won’t be back for a 14th season. Also shown the door were former Marlins turned analysts Jeff Conine and Preston Wilson.

Sad news to pass along. Longtime broadcaster and former Trail Blazers star Steve “Snapper” Jones has passed away. Jones was 75 years old.

Congrats to Sports Radio 610 host and former WWE NXT announcer Alex Del Barrio. The sports media veteran has been named the new sports director of CBS 4 KGBT-TV in Harlingen, Texas.

The Players’ Tribune has launched a new six episode video series, The First Step, featuring former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse as host. Stackhouse travels the country meeting with athletes to discuss the important issues facing communities across the country. Among those scheduled to appear on episodes with Stackhouse are former NFL defensive back Charles Tillman, NBA assistant coach Becky Hammon, New York Giants WR Brandon Marshall, Lakers and Trail Blazers players Brandon Ingram and Caleb Swanigan, and WNBA player Maya Moore.

Former ESPN contributor Derek Tyson confirmed earlier this month on Twitter that his contract had officially expired with the worldwide leader in sports. Rather than dive back into covering the world of sports with another media outlet, Tyson says he’s going to pursue business opportunities outside of the sports world.

Congratulations to Lauren Walsh. After spending time with WYSR in Syracuse, Walsh is off to ABC 22/FOX 44 in Burlington, Vermont to serve as a sports anchor and reporter.

Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI

“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”

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Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.

Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.

In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.

In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.

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Sports Radio News

David Ortiz On WEEI: Everyone Knows Dan Shaughnessy’s An A-Hole

“He didn’t seem to take the slight personally. He also didn’t seem to think it mattered.”

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Mark Sardella

You don’t have to guess how David Ortíz feels about Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy. He is more than happy to tell you if you ask.

On Wednesday, the Hall of Fame candidate was a guest on WEEI and afternoon host Lou Merloni asked. He wanted to know how Ortíz felt about Shaughnessy saying he would never vote for the Red Sox slugger to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

“You know that Dan Shaughnessy has been an asshole to everybody,” Big Papí responded.

He didn’t seem to take the slight personally. He also didn’t seem to think it mattered.

“What can I do? Dan’s not gonna stop anything. He’s just one guy that didn’t vote for you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But I mean, this is a guy who likes giving a hard time to everyone, so you’ve got to love him that way.”

For the record, according to BBHOFTracker.com, Ortíz has received more votes than anyone else on the ballots of the writers that have made their votes public. Time will tell if that holds up and he meets the 75% threshold for induction.

Dan Shaughnessy released his Hall of Fame ballot last week along with the rest of the Boston Globe staff. He only voted for Jeff Kent. He was the only one not to vote for Big Papí

David Ortíz will find out next week if he is in. He is one of four players with the numbers that make one think it makes sense for him to be in the Hall of Fame, but a cloud of doubt over him because of his past use of performance enhancing drugs.

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Sports Radio News

Tim Kurkjian: There Is No Right Way To Vote For The Hall Of Fame

“If I just said, look I’m not voting for anyone that has a connection to PEDs, that would be easier.”

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ESPN Images

The results of the Baseball Hall of Fame vote will be revealed next week, and ESPN MLB writer Tim Kurkjian has been on the fence about a lot of the players on the ballot.

Speaking Wednesday with Tim McKernan of 101 ESPN in St. Louis, Kurkjian said having the opportunity to elect some of baseball’s greatest players to the Hall of Fame is not lost on him. But the task of choosing players with ties to performance-enhancing drugs has been hard.

“It’s the greatest privilege I have,” he said of being a voter. “I love it, but it’s really, really difficult. I don’t think there are any right answers anymore.”

Kurkjian himself will be honored at the induction ceremony, and will be enshrined in the media wing as the winner of the Baseball Writers Association of America Career Excellence Award.

In the lead-up to the results of the voting, ESPN’s Outside the Lines is presenting a series on the Hall of Fame cases for five controversial candidates: Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

McKernan asked Tim Kurkjian what his voting process was, and if he considers voting for players on a case-by-case basis. Kurkjian said that was indeed the case given how each player’s ties to banned substances is different, and that in his mind, doing it that way is the most balanced way of voting.

“If I just said, look I’m not voting for anyone that has a connection to PEDs, that would be easier,” he said. “But I do care, and I’m kind of trapped in the middle as I so often am.”

Some of the other voters have a more hard-lined stance. Guys like Bonds, A-Rod, Mark McGwire and others will never get a particular writer’s vote simply because they admitted to using PEDs. But Kurkjian said that’s not how he does it.

He also said others should model how he votes.

“I’m not suggesting it’s the right way, because I’m not sure there is a right way,” he said. “I just don’t think I’m wrong in what I’m doing. I’m doing the best I can, and it is a very difficult assignment these days.”

ESPN’s series will conclude on Wednesday with reaction to the results of the hall of fame vote. Tim Kurkjian will be a part of the series.

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