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Under The Radar – January 17, 2018



They may not steal the headlines in the sports media world but news is news. Here are a couple of smaller items you might have missed. A reminder, if you have news to share and would like to have it included in a future column please pass it along via email to Now here’s the latest.

Michelle Smallmon has announced her exit from ESPN Radio. Her final day at the network was Friday where she helped produce Will Cain‘s afternoon show. During her past few years in Bristol, Smallmon produced Ryen Russillo, Danny Kanell, Jorge Sedano, Cain, and a slew of others. All the best to her as she prepares to write the next chapter of her career.

Speaking of ESPN, former producer Jason Romano has added the title “author” to his resume. Romano’s brand new book Live To Forgive went on sale this week. To pick up your copy and support a member of the sports media fraternity click here.

All the best to 98.5 The Sports Hub‘s Marc Bertrand. The midday host was involved in an accident on Saturday which resulted in his vehicle being totaled and a trip to the hospital. Bertrand says he sustained injuries but has been sent home from the hospital. The police and fire departments in Norwood, MA arrived on the scene of the accident quickly and used the jaws of life to free him from his vehicle.

Barstool Sports‘ kicked off the launch of their 24-hour channel on SiriusXM by welcoming an industry icon to the airwaves. Former WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa appeared on Barstool Breakfast with Julie Stewart-Binks, Willie Colon and Francis. Francesa acknowledged during the interview that not being behind the microphone in January when the NFL Playoffs take center stage has felt strange. To hear some of the interview click here.

After parting ways with Eric Davis, ESPN LA 710 has confirmed they’re returning their afternoon show to a two-man program. Marcellus Wiley and Sean Farnham will work together in afternoon drive going forward.

Congratulations to Adam Gold of 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh. The Triangle Sports Talk Host is celebrating a milestone of 20 years in sports radio this month. Gold was initially hired by 850 The Buzz, and has been installed in afternoons on The Fan with co-host Joe Ovies since 2010.

Ric Bucher has teamed up with Atlanta producer Shaine Freeman to launch the United We Cast Network. The new platform will include a collection of shows from established names in various parts of the sports and entertainment industry. Among them are comedian/movie actor Gary Owen (GetSome Podcast), actor Isaiah Washington (Isaiah Washington Speaks…Again) and former NBA center Ryan Hollins who will co-host a program (The SwRL) with Bucher. All three podcasts will delve into issues of race and race relations in different areas of the entertainment industry. The network’s goal is to create discussion and share personal experiences on issues and topics which may be considered too risky for other mediums. To learn more click here.

In other podcasting news, San Diego afternoon host Scott Kaplan has launched a solo podcast. The Mighty 1090 personality’s latest episode includes a no holds barred conversation with Kaplan’s former radio partner Sid Rosenberg who now hosts middays on WABC in New York City. One particularly interesting part of the episode includes a detailed discussion between the two men over the way their former show in the big apple was set up for failure. To take a listen click here.

FOX Sports 97.5 FM/1260 AM in Indianapolis has canceled its local morning show which was added to the weekday schedule one year ago. The radio station has dropped “The Flagrant Foul” featuring Don Stuck and Dave “Gunner” Gunn. Taking over the morning time slot is FOX Sports Radio‘s “Outkick The Coverage with Clay Travis“.

If you missed it, Dino Costa has resurfaced. The controversial talk show host who was dropped by 750/102.9 The Game in Portland in August has joined AM 970 The Answer in New York City. Costa now hosts the overnight shift from Midnight to 3am ET.

And in play by play news, Elijah Gonzalez has been hired by the Fort Myers Miracle as the team’s #2 broadcaster.

Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte

“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”



Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.

Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin. 

“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”

Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.

“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”

Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.

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Sports Radio News

Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football

“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”



The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. 

With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.

“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit. 

Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about: 

As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.

“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”

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Sports Radio News

Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan

“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”



John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.

Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.

“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”

Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.

The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.

“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”

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