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97.9 ESPN Strikes 10-Year Deal with UConn

Jason Barrett

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The University of Connecticut will spend the next decade working with a brand new radio partner. After WTIC in Hartford parted ways with the school following a 26-year run together, IMG announced a transformative 10-year, multimillion-dollar partnership with iHeartMedia and 97.9 ESPN, Hartford’s Sport Station, to serve as the new home of the UConn Huskies.

WTIC will continue airing UConn games which were part of the 2017-2018 schedule. Once the 2018-2019 season begins, 97.9 ESPN will permanently take over broadcasting regular season and post-season play-by-play for UConn football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s hockey . iHeartMedia also plans to air select UConn Olympic sports contests.

“Our new relationship with iHeartMedia and 97.9 ESPN provides UConn Athletics with a powerful reach and the prospect of building an extensive affiliate network throughout the state and the Northeast,” director of athletics David Benedict said. “Our new partnership with a dedicated sports platform hosted by the most powerful sports and media company in the country, will offer fans and listeners more opportunities to interact with our teams and coaches.”

“This partnership joins three iconic brands,” said Steve Honeycomb, Region President for iHeartMedia. “Having UConn sports on iHeartMedia’s 97.9 ESPN has been our long-term goal. This is the perfect partnership and offers even more entertaining programming for UConn Nation.”

The new partnership between the UConn-IMG Radio Network and 97.9 ESPN also includes pre- and post-game shows and the UConn Women’s Basketball Coach’s Radio Show with Geno Auriemma, the UConn Men’s Basketball Coach’s Radio Show with Kevin Ollie, UConn Football Coach’s Radio Show with Randy Edsall, and the UConn Hockey Coach’s Radio Show with Michael Cavanaugh.

“We couldn’t be happier about teaming up with the University of Connecticut Athletics and finally having UConn sports on our station,” said Ben Darnell, Program Director for 97.9 ESPN.

The on-air talent for UConn Athletics have yet to be determined. Future announcements are expected.

Sports Radio News

Dan Dakich Exits 107.5 The Fan

“Greg Doyle of the Indianapolis Star obtained an internal email from David Wood. The operations manager for Radio One confirmed to his staff that Dakich was out.”

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Dan Dakich

Dan Dakich will not be heard on local radio in Indianapolis anymore. His content disappeared from the station’s website on Thursday afternoon. Later in the day, he took to Twitter to confirm that he would not return for his show on Friday.

Just last year, Dan Dakich launched a new show on Outkick called Don’t @ Me. He says the demands of two shows make it hard for both to get the focus they require.

Greg Doyle of the Indianapolis Star obtained an internal email from David Wood. The operations manager for Radio One confirmed to his staff that Dakich was out.

Dakich had been heard in middays on the station for the last 14 years.

The timing is strange to be sure. Dakich just signed a new contract with the station in February. At that time, 107.5 The Fan was owned by Emmis Communications. It was sold to Radio One in June.

In July, The Star documented two incidents that brought scrutiny on Dakich. Dana Hunsinger Benbow posted an audio clip of the host referring to a caller as a “meth head”. Then Greg Doyle reported that Dakich made off-color jokes at a station event that upset Radio One brass.

Dakich mocked the allegations. Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins refused to answer questions about the incident or Dakich.

Outkick carries Don’t @ Me every weekday at 9 AM.

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Sports Radio News

Mike Missanelli On Potential Radio Return: ‘My Ears Are Always Open’

“You know, I’m not ready for the grave. I think I would listen to any opportunity if it was palatable.”

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Philadelphia sports radio listeners have been in a bit of a nostalgic mood all year as the farewell tour for Angelo Cataldi continues on WIP. On Thursday morning, it was a double dose of “the good ol’ days” as Cataldi welcomed Mike Missanelli to the show.

Cataldi introduced Missanelli, one of the original WIP sports radio hosts, as a “former star of WIP and other stations that I won’t mention here”.

The two visited for 15 minutes and covered a number of topics. Mike Missanelli was candid about his feelings on his past partnership with Howard Eskin, admitting that he never wanted to stop working with Steve Fredricks and saying that he “literally wanted to kill [Eskin] every day.”

“Eskin came back to radio from doing TV and they thought that putting us together would be a good show, but they kind of threw Steve out the door,” Missanelli says of the beginning of the duo’s partnership. “They gave him night hours or whatever. So, I wasn’t in favor of it and I didn’t think it would work because to me, our chemistry wasn’t good. Howard is what he is, but what he isn’t is a team guy.”

Cataldi asked Missanelli what he missed most about being on the radio.

“I’ll tell you where I missed it during that Phillies run was the everyday reaction from fans,” Missanelli answered. “So I’m doing podcasts now where you don’t get that immediate reaction. So like, that bias play was always good about what we did in sports talk radio.”

Mike Missanelli has been off the air since being let go from 97.5 The Fanatic earlier this year. Cataldi noted that it was the first time Missanelli’s voice had been heard on 94 WIP since 2006 and that it would have happened sooner if Missanelli didn’t have to wait three months for his non-compete clause to end.

Will it be the last time we hear Mike Missanelli on the radio? He told Cataldi that he isn’t opposed to doing a live show again.

“My ears are always open,” he said. “Like when this ended at the other station, I didn’t expect that I was going to do anything. Then all of the sudden, I started getting a couple of calls to do some things. You know, I’m not ready for the grave. I think I would listen to any opportunity if it was palatable.”

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Sports Radio News

Scott Hastings Details How Inside The NBA Video Came Together

“They got three people, two camera guys, a sound guy, and a producer. And she’s got the whole thing storyboarded out. I added some of my own flairs to it.”

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Inside The NBA analyst Charles Barkley and Denver Nuggets analyst Scott Hastings have an interesting relationship. During a game in 1990, Hastings took a swing at Barkley during a mele between the Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers. Earlier this year, Hastings admitted he “sucker punched” Barkley during the altercation, with the two jokingly setting a date of May 19, 2023 for a boxing match.

During a recent Nuggets visit to Atlanta, Hastings stopped by the Inside The NBA studios to film a segment to provoke Barkley.

During Polumbus, Hastings, and Dover on Altitude Sports Radio Wednesday, Hastings detailed how the segment came to be.

“I said ‘We should do something and show up at the studios’ because of the Charles and I thing,” Hastings said. “We get there and one guy lets us in and waits for us at the loading dock. They got three people, two camera guys, a sound guy, and a producer. And she’s got the whole thing storyboarded out. I added some of my own flairs to it. There’s probably another 10 minutes of footage — maybe five to seven minutes. We got to the hotel at about 5:15 PM and asked if we could be there by 6:00 PM.”

Hastings said the Inside The NBA studios are located directly beside where the Nuggets were slated to practice, so he could both attend practice and go to the studio, which he called “cool”.

“You could play a two-on-two game. It’s that big. It’s probably not ‘NBA three’ wide, but we’ve all played on narrower courts. Honest to gosh, you’d have enough room — if you put a hoop at the big screen where they run to — you could play a game. It’s like an old catholic school court with the carpet up to the side.”

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