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Under The Radar – January 4, 2018

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The new year is here and we’ve got plenty to catch you up on from across the sports media universe. A reminder to my industry friends, I’m happy to help you tell your story if you take the time to pass it along. Whether it’s a major development or something smaller, if it’s relevant to the sports media business and worth informing listeners or advertisers about, I’m here to help. All tips can be relayed via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now here’s the latest news!

BSM will have a piece coming out on Friday taking a look at the fall ratings for a number of sports stations across the country. Be sure to visit the website or keep an eye out on social media for the column.

2018 began with a number of new shows premiering across the nation. The one though under the largest microscope is WFAN‘s new afternoon show featuring Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray. The trio officially took over for Mike Francesa on Tuesday January 2nd and have already earned the scorn of the New York Daily News. To read the newspaper’s blistering review of the show click here. Newsday‘s Neil Best provided a less scathing assessment of the show which you can read by clicking here. Best also gave some ink to WFAN‘s new morning show, Boomer & Gio, and the Michael Kay Show which took exception to a caller suggesting the program should have been more complimentary towards Mike Francesa when he signed off at The Fan. NJ.com got in on the action too by crafting an article which explains why Chris Carlin is unfazed by critics.

Speaking of debuts, CBS Sports Radio has turned the morning airwaves over to Marc Malusis and former pro wrestler turned talk show host Taz. With Gregg Giannotti moving over to WFAN to work with Boomer Esiason, Giannotti’s former co-host Brian Jones has left the radio network to focus on his television work. CBS Sports Radio has also begun simulcasting Jim Rome and Boomer and Gio on the CBS Sports Network.

Meanwhile at ESPN Radio, the new year started off with Stephen A. Smith, Will Cain and the team of Sarah Spain and Jason Fitz now entrenched in the weekday lineup. All three shows began airing nationwide this past Tuesday January 2nd. ESPN Radio is also launching a new weekend program, “Game Day“, featuring Laura Rutledge, Myron Medcalf and Doug Kezirian starting Saturday January 6th. The show will air from 12p-4p ET.

Elsewhere, JT The Brick has landed a local 1-hour show in Las Vegas on FOX Sports 98.9 FM/1340AM. The Brick will host from 4p-5p PT prior to taking over the national airwaves on FOX Sports Radio from 5p-8p PT.

Also in Las Vegas, Matt Perrault has moved from evenings to middays on SB Nation Radio. Perrault’s new program, Pushing The Odds, airs weekdays from Noon to 3p ET.

Glad to see WEEI and afternoon host Dale Arnold come to terms on a new deal. Arnold, along with Michael Holley and Rich Keefe, have consistently delivered strong ratings in afternoon drive for the radio station. The combined share of Men 25-54 in Boston listening to sports radio on WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub during afternoon drive is consistently between 20-25, making it a highly competitive battle and the envy of many other local markets.

KNBR afternoon host Tom Tolbert is doing better following a series of surgeries. The longtime Bay Area sports talk show host and ex-NBA player was the focus of Bruce Jenkins‘ latest piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s an excellent read. You can enjoy it by clicking here.

Take a few minutes to read Zach McCrite‘s piece on former University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich. In the article, McCrite shares how the former AD used his influence to prevent him from hosting afternoons on 790 KRD in 2010. This is an issue which many broadcasters deal with especially when trying to serve as a radio partner to popular teams who are run by influential executives. You can read it by clicking here.

A few content pieces worth listening to.

  • Clay Travis‘ interview with Hugh Freeze on FOX Sports Radio was very good. The former Ole Miss football coach discussed his ugly exit from the school, why social media is bad for college football and much more. You can hear it by clicking here.
  • Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith of the Mighty 1090 in San Diego conducted an emotional interview with NFL on CBS play by play announcer Jim Nantz. The conversation included Nantz sharing a few thoughts on the late Dick Enberg. To hear it click here.
  • Joe Beningo of WFAN eviscerated CBS Sports Radio‘s Damon Amendolara after DA went on SNY and said New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles had performed better than expected this past season. DA then phoned into Beningo’s show and the two exchanged a few passionate views on the Jets head coaching situation. You can hear it by clicking here.

Look for a feature soon on The Athletic’s Chicago platform featuring 670 The Score overnight host Les Grobstein. The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg, who previously worked in Chicago sports radio and television is writing the story.

Sticking with Chicago sports media news, 670 The Score evening host Laurence Holmes says plans are in the works for a future podcast with afternoon host Jason Goff. No word yet on when it will be released.

Like father like son. Ben Rosen, the son of 670 The Score program director Mitch Rosen, has played a prominent role in reviving WMPA, Morgan Park Academy’s radio station. The high school senior is providing play by play and a pregame show for boys basketball games. Familiarize yourself with his story by clicking here.

A tip of the cap to Cumulus San Francisco who utilized the KNBR, KNBR 1050, KGO, 107.7 The Bone, KFOG and KSFO airwaves to help raise $500,000 dollars for North Bay wildfire victims. Cumulus is disbursing the funds to three groups, United Way Bay Area, Redwood Empire Food Bank and American Red Cross’ Northern California Chapter.

Continuing with the theme of making a difference, Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket in Dallas raised over $540,000 for the Austin Street Center as part of its annual Normathon. Since starting the fundraiser 17 years ago, The Ticket has helped raise $4.7 million dollars. Austin Street Center is an emergency shelter that serves men ages 45 and older and women ages 18 and older, meeting the basic needs of the most vulnerable homeless.

Shifting to Buffalo, great job by WGR‘s Bills beat/sideline reporter Sal Capaccio on capturing video reaction from Bills fans at the airport after the team landed Sunday night. Despite  en route to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. To watch the video click here.

With the University of Georgia set to face Alabama on Monday night in the NCAA College Football Playoff, 680 The Fan is taking advantage of the excitement by broadcasting a special 24-hour pregame show starting Sunday night. The station’s shows will originate from a heated tent in downtown Atlanta with live check ins taking place from local tailgates. The Fan plans to mix up it’s talent combinations and shows to create a special day of programming. ESPN Radio‘s Golic and Wingo will also be in town broadcasting their show at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Former 92.9 The Game evening host Mitch Evans has landed an opportunity as a sports anchor and writer for iHeart Media and the 24/7 News Network. Evans will continue to be based out of Atlanta.

Dave “Deuce” Mason did an excellent job producing an audio documentary on the career of Sacramento Kings play-by-play man Gary Gerould. It includes interviews with Gerould, Chris Webber, Doug Christie, Marv Albert, Grant Napear and more. You can hear it by clicking here.

Former Minneapolis sports radio host Jeff Dubay has plead guilty to third degree assault. The former KFAN personality will be sentenced on March 22nd and could face up to four months in jail. You can learn more by clicking here.

A few programming promotions to pass along. Jason Rossi has been named the new afternoon producer of Dale and Holley with Keefe at WEEI. Tim Murray will be part of Westwood One‘s Winter Olympics broadcast crew this February serving primarily as the studio host for all hockey broadcasts. Jose Partida has been elevated to full time producer at ESPN 97.5 and SB Nation Radio in Houston. Shane Riordan has increased his behind the scenes duties at 670 The Score, and Matt Castillo has been hired behind the scenes at FOX Sports 1400 in Spartanburg.

Radio Ink recently produced its annual Top Sports Talkers list. To see which hosts and shows were featured in the Top 35 click here.

All the best to longtime ESPN NFL Miami-based reporter James Walker who has left the worldwide leader after spending the past decade with the company. Altogether Walker spent sixteen years in the business. He’s elected to pursue a new opportunity with a CPA firm handling accounts for professional athletes.

In case you missed it, Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated reported that Jeannine Edwards has retired from the sports broadcasting business. Edwards worked the Cotton Bowl as her final assignment for ESPN. She had been with the network since 1995.

2018 begins the same way that 2017 ended in print news, with The Athletic adding more contributors to their staff. The latest to announce his addition to the digital platform is Lars Anderson.

Sports Radio News

Industry Analyst Predicts Crypto Will Surpass Gambling In Sports World

Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year.

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Industry insiders have believed for quite a while that sports betting was the future for sponsorship and advertisement revenue, but it appears that there is a new venture on the rise that is quickly surpassing it.

Crypto.com made a huge statement in purchasing the Staples Center in what will be known as Crypto.com Arena come Christmas Day.

SponsorUnited Founder and President Bob Lynch believes that there is no doubt that Crypto and Blockchain will far exceed sports betting as the premiere revenue money maker for the sports industry over the next decade.

“They’re essentially buying equity,” which would be particularly valuable in an industry that is still widely doubted, Lynch said on Crypto.com’s purchase of the arena. “The Lakers and Clippers have global exposure, media value and mentions that give instant brand legitimacy with top-of-mind awareness through national/global TV exposure,”

Crypto has already started to push its way into major advertisements for key events in the world of sports. Cryptocurrency exchange FTX purchased an ad in this upcoming Super Bowl, and already has the backing of the biggest star in professional football. Tom Brady has an equity stake in the company.

Crypto.com is already the sponsor of FOX‘s college football studio show, Big Noon Kickoff, on top of running ads during broadcasts of the game as well.

Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year. It seems that the possibilities are endless for crypto within the sports landscape. While sports gambling certainly isn’t going away from the public eye, it could be overtaken by crypto in terms of ad spending and sponsorship visibility very soon.

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Sports Radio News

Colin Cowherd: Lincoln Riley At USC Is Good For Networks

“Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches.”

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FS1

Colin Cowherd is a self-professed college football fan. When the sport is interesting, he talks about it. The sport may never be more interesting than when the coaching carousel is spinning.

On Mondy’s edition of The Herd on FS1 and FOX Sports Radio, Cowherd dove in on USC’s hire of Lincoln Riley. He says that it is good for college football that Riley left Oklahoma for Los Angeles.

“My phone blew up yesterday, not only because people know I’m kind of a USC honk, but network people,” Cowherd said. “They’re like ‘do you understand how big this is for networks?’”.

Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches. He noted that when USC lost to Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl, ABC scored a 22.5 rating in the city.

“The networks want USC to be good. You know why? Because New York, DC, and Boston have never watched college football. Chicago does and LA does. So the Big Ten being good is good for college football TV ratings. But LA doesn’t watch college football anymore. They will now.”

As for the hard times USC has fallen on and been stuck in mostly since Pete Carroll bolted for the NFL, Cowherd is not particularly worried. He pointed out that Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame were all down before they hired the right coach. Programs at the blue blood level in the sport have a way of bouncing back quickly.

Network executives are hoping Cowherd’s assessment is correct. USC is the only brand on the West Coast capable of resonating on a national level.

The Los Angeles sports landscape has changed though. When USC was a celebrity program under Pete Carroll, the city did not have an NFL team. Now it has two. The Dodgers were not annual contenders in Major League Baseball. The Lakers had stars, but the Clippers didn’t. Now both do.

Does LA love college football enough for the Trojans to turn some heads in the city with the most stars in the sports world?

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee’s Wife Shares Couple’s Pregnancy Struggles

“Saying that now the couple is no longer able to conceive naturally, Samantha went on to tell her followers that she and Pat will be pursuing in vitro fertilization when they are ready.”

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As hard as it can be as a celebrity, or as the spouse of a celebrity or popular media figure, to keep your personal life private and out of the limelight, sometimes it can be uplifting to put your personal struggles out there for all to see.

Enter Samantha McAfee, the wife of popular sports radio host Pat McAfee. Samantha took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to share a heartbreaking update on the couple’s journey to conceiving a child.

“On Tuesday, I had what we thought was a ‘normal’ miscarriage, it was painful and miserable,” Samantha wrote in part. “However, Saturday morning I woke up in extreme pain so Patrick took me to the ER. They found that I had internal bleeding again due to the pregnancy being in my (fallopian) tube and it had burst. I needed emergency surgery to remove my remaining tube.”

Samantha shared that this was not the first time she had experienced complications in the beginning weeks of a pregnancy. She said she had her right fallopian tube removed in 2020 due to an ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy where a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the main cavity of the uterus.

Saying that now the couple is no longer able to conceive naturally, Samantha went on to tell her followers that she and Pat will be pursuing in vitro fertilization when they are ready.

Additionally, McAfee noted that the point of her sharing the update was to give others who may be going through similar difficulties hope, but to also shed a light on the reality of fertility issues and emphasize that she will have a child someday.

“I KNOW I WILL BE A MOTHER somehow some way, I know Patrick and I will be the best parents we can be whenever the universe thinks it’s the right time,” she said.

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