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Under The Radar – February 6, 2018

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A week on radio row in Minneapolis was the focus for most sports radio broadcasters last week. While everyone was busy chasing down guests, riding roller coasters, braving the elements, and dining at Shake Shack, news was being made throughout the industry. Here are some of the developments you might have missed. As always, please pass along any news tips via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Unrelated to this week’s UTR news, I want to applaud the city of Minneapolis for being a great Super Bowl host city. The people were friendly, transportation was readily available, security moved people along smoothly at the airport and the city looked fantastic. This was my third time visiting and I’ve enjoyed each experience.

I wish I could say the same for the NFL which doesn’t undervalues the support it receives from radio partners on radio row. Cramming 100+ stations into a tight space outside of a food court made it extremely difficult for hosts and guests to move around. It was even more noticeable when shows left their tables to grab a bite or use the bathroom during commercial breaks and had to fight crowds to get back on the air in time.

One particular story which was relayed to me involved a wounded warrior needing to get out of his wheelchair (it wouldn’t fit thru the small walking space) and crawl to a guest appearance a few tables away. I also personally witnessed a woman with an infant child in a stroller and young child holding her hand almost get trampled and have the stroller flipped by a mob of people trying to get close to Terrell Owens. I understand the public’s passion to meet players but people shouldn’t be put in a position of danger in the process.

I did like the visuals for stations broadcasting inside the Mall of America. It looked great on TV and social media. The check in process was much smoother and the back and forth jousting between Patriots and Eagles fans added additional entertainment value to the week. A verbal spat between two hosts/stations gave folks additional material to work with.

From a location standpoint, choosing the Mall of America made a ton of sense. What I don’t understand though is why the NFL didn’t work with the largest mall in the country to provide enough space for shows and stations to operate let alone be able to walk, store equipment or even stretch their arms or legs. These stations dedicate dollars, manpower, and hours of programming to selling the NFL’s final game of their season. Hopefully they take that into deeper consideration when planning future Super Bowl weeks.

Now on to the news!

680 The Fan has made a change to its weekday lineup. “The Front Row” which features Steak Shapiro, Brian Finneran and Sandra Golden has moved from middays to mornings. Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini shift from mornings to middays. The new schedule went into affect on Monday.

Congratulations to Dan Bennett, Jeff Catlin, Bruce Gilbert and the entire Cumulus Dallas team on the 24-year anniversary of Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket. The Dallas Morning News ran a few stories highlighting the station’s start and popular moments along the way. To read about the birth of the station click here. For insight on the creation and popularity of the Fake Jerry Jones click here. For a firsthand account of the station’s first 24-hours click here.

Red Zebra Broadcasting in Washington DC has chosen to re-brand ESPN 980. The radio station has dropped ESPN from its name and embraced the new moniker, The Team 980. The station planned to make the change last Wednesday morning but when the Redskins traded for Alex Smith on Tuesday night, on-air plans had to be changed and the station decided to let the cat out of the bag early. For more on the story click here.

WEEI in Boston has announced a renewal of Patriots Monday and Friday with the defending AFC champions. The partnership between Entercom Boston and the New England Patriots began in 1995 and expanded in 2008. It includes weekly appearances during the NFL season by Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and other Patriots players. The deal is said to be a multi-year agreement. For more click here.

Former WWE wrestler Mark Henry, who made a few hosting appearances in Austin, Texas on AM 1300 The Zone, has apparently caught the radio bug. “The World’s Strongest Man” has agreed to join SiriusXM‘s ‘Busted Open’ as a third host alongside David LaGreca and Bully Ray on Tuesdays. The show airs on SiriusXM Rush 93 from 9a-12p ET.

103.7 The Buzz in Little Rock, Arkansas came under fire for running its annual “Babe Bracket” contest. The promotion has been in existence for over two decades and pits 16 female anchors and reporters against each other with the audience determining who advances. A poll which ran afterwards asking local fans if the bracket should be ended produced a 60-40 result in favor of it continuing. To read more click here.

As bankruptcy issues occupy the focus of Cumulus Media, the situation created an opportunity for 670 The Score. The Chicago sports radio station was able to lure away the radio rights to the Chicago Bulls from Cumulus NewsTalk station WLS. The Bulls played their first game on The Score this past Saturday. Chuck Swirsky and Bill Wennington remain on board as the radio broadcast team.

Jim Henderson is riding off into the sunset. The longtime radio voice of the New Orleans Saints has decided it’s time to turn off his microphone and hand the reigns to someone else. Henderson had been part of the Saints broadcast on the team’s flagship station WWL since 1986.

Behind the scenes news worth sharing from Nashville. Congratulations to Chase McCabe of 102.5 The Game who was recently promoted to Assistant Program Director. McCabe has been with the station for six years and will be counted on by PD Ryan Porth to help the station continue growing. Part of his new responsibilities include serving as the Executive Producer of the station’s morning show.

Meanwhile in Cleveland, former Detroit Sports 105.1 host and contributor Jake Chapman has been named executive producer of 92.3 The Fan‘s midday show, ‘Baskin and Phelps’ and the Cleveland Browns radio network. For Chapman it’s an opportunity to return to his home state after stints in Michigan and Florida.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Mariners have confirmed the addition of Gary Hill Jr. as the team’s new Executive Producer of Mariners broadcasts. Seattle’s games are heard on radio on 710 ESPN Seattle.

AJ Hawk will reunite with Anthony Rothman on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus starting March 5th. “Off-Season with AJ Hawk” will air each Monday from noon to 1pm ET. The show will be part of the station’s schedule until late August. Hawk will also join Rothman and his on-air partner Bobby Carpenter on Football Friday’s during the fall.

Lineup changes were made in Phoenix at 1580 The Fanatic. Shawn Crespin is now teaming in mornings with Michael Bauer. Craig Fouhy is hosting 12p-1p after previously working the 9a-10a shift. Tim and Jake Montemayor and Jeff Dean are no longer part of the M-F lineup. No word on why the station elected to switch things up.

The Pioneer Press in Minneapolis wrote a good piece on broadcasting from radio row during the week of the Super Bowl. To check it out click here.

MLS broadcasting news out of Atlanta. Mike Conti has been named the new play by play voice of the Atlanta United. Jason Longshore returns for his second season as the team’s color analyst. United games air locally on 92.9 The Game.

Townsquare Media’s 92.9 The Ticket has signed on as the new Boston Red Sox affiliate in Bangor, ME. The Sox previously aired their games on The Pulse 620AM WZON which recently underwent a format change.

All the best to Rob Johnson on his new opportunity hosting weekdays from 4p-6p CT on Sports Radio KMIS 1050AM/103.9FM in southeast Missouri. Johnson’s program ‘Making The Play’ was added to the station’s lineup yesterday.

Good news has found its way to Jake Brown‘s doorstep. The CBS Radio digital host and contributor has accepted an opportunity with MLB.com to become an Associate Site Manager. Brown says the new position won’t affect his ability to continue hosting ‘The Jake Brown Show’ for Radio.com or contributing for SNY.

In minor league baseball broadcasting news, Melanie Newman has been hired by the Frisco Rough Riders as their #2 broadcaster. Newman will be counted on to provide human interest and video pieces for the team and FOX Sports Southwest.

Switching to the television world, Michelle Margaux has been named the new in-game reporter for the Tampa Bay Rays. Rays games air in the Tampa market on FOX Sports Sun.

Jeff Wallner has been added to WCPO‘s coverage of the Cincinnati Reds for the 2018 season. Wallner says he’ll contribute more features and analysis this season than nuts and bolts game coverage.

In the Bay Area, Kerry Crowley has signed on as the new San Francisco Giants beat reporter for the Bay Area News Group. Crowley’s written, audio and video work will appear in both the Mercury News and East Bay Times.

And Nashville’s A to Z Sports has announced that Zach Ragan has signed on to cover the Tennessee Titans and Volunteers. Ragan’s first piece for A to Z’s website was published last week.

Sports Radio News

Craig Carton Making Responsible Gambling Content For FanDuel

“He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.”

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FanDuel announced yesterday that it has hired its first ever “responsible gaming ambassador”. WFAN’s Craig Carton has agreed to take on the role. He has been open about his gambling addiction and advocated for those that believe they have a problem to seek help on air since returning to New York radio last year.

The content he creates for FanDuel will have a very specific focus. A press release says Carton will promote messages of “advocacy, prevention awareness and content development focused on the importance of wagering within limits”.

Craig Carton was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a ponzi scheme to defraud investors of money they were told was being invested in tickets for resale. In reality, Carton was using the money to repay some of his gambling debts.

“My story and personal history with gambling has been well documented,” said Carton. “More than ever, I want to use my experience and platform to shine a meaningful spotlight on the issue of problem gambling. It was important to me that I find a real partnership with a company that shared my passion for this issue. It became clear FanDuel shared the same goals and was comfortable working transparently with me for the sole purpose of protecting people.”

FanDuel is planning to utilize Carton in a number of ways. He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.

He will also create audio and video for FanDuel’s Play Safe Campaign. FanDuel will help Carton’s WFAN program “Hello, My Name is Craig” find a bigger audience. The show airs on weekends and features Carton discussing his addiction and offering advice to others seeking help.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Craig to place even more emphasis on responsible gaming behaviors,” said Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Everyone at FanDuel understands the importance of protecting our customers who are also our family, friends, neighbors and community members. Craig’s powerful personal story will help fuel our mission of making sure no bet placed results in hurting a loved one.”

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Sports Radio News

Marc Malusis: Stephen A Smith Spouting ‘Complete & Utter BS’

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

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WFAN’s Marc Malusis wants Stephen A. Smith to acknowledge that he either has inside information regarding the Nets or that he completely made up a trade rumor on First Take earlier this week. Smith said on First Take that the Brooklyn Nets would trade Kyrie Irving to Philadelphia if it meant they got Ben Simmons back in return, but the idea has been nixed by Kevin Durant.

Stephen A. Smith accused some in the media of lying about his report. He tried to claim that he what said on First Take was that the Irving for Simmons deal is a trade the Nets could do. That was enough to sett Malusis off.

“This is just complete and utter BS,” he shouted. “I mean, get the boots on!”

Marc Malusis claims that the idea of an Irving for Simmons trade isn’t totally absurd. Having James Harden on the roster would allow Brooklyn to bring in someone that does everything well but shoot. Still, he says Smith framed his stance as something he knows happened and Malusis is adamant it didn’t.

He was even more upset that Smith would say people in the New York media “lied” about what Smith had said. Marc Malusis pointed out that when you are the local media, you have to dive into a rumor like that. It doesn’t just get to be something that was said on ESPN.

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

It sounds like Malusis’s greatest objection is to Smith’s indignation at the idea that someone took his trade rumor seriously.

“Don’t all the sudden start waking back and saying ‘everyone’s spewing lies about what I had to say yesterday’ because you know what? We had to weed through the BS of what you said yesterday.”

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Sports Radio News

104.5 ESPN’s Matt Moscona Sets Up $100K Donation to Local High School

”It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

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Guaranty Media and 104.5 ESPN in Baton Rouge recently invited a local Athletic Director from South Lafourche High School Brian Callais to come and promote an upcoming fundraising event host by Central High School on After Further Review with Matt Moscona.

During the phone interview, Callais informed listeners of the impact that Ida had on their school, including major damages to the high school that there are no funds to repair. Additionally, the school’s sports teams will be forced to travel for every game this season as their facilities are not fit to host other schools.

Little did Callais know, Matt Moscona had invited the founder of a Baton-Rouge-based cryptocurrency business called Game Coin to join him in the 104.5 ESPN studio to surprise Callias with a donation of $100,000 dollars to the school.

“This will go a long way,” said Callais after learning of Game Coin’s donation to his program. “Our [senior] student-athletes have not had a normal high school year since their freshman year…Their sophomore year, they were hit with the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to a regular senior year for them. It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

Gamecoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that is not totally for profit, as 4% of their 10% transaction fee goes to charitable donations to help youth sports groups.

“Growing up, I didn’t have everything that I thought I should have,” said founder of Game Coin David Mahler on Moscona’s radio program. “I just always wanted to be able to provide for people…and since I’m able to do that now, I added that as a part of Game Coin.”

Mahler also said in the interview that three more similar donations are already arranged and they will be announced within the next two weeks.

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