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Under The Radar – March 6, 2018

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The sports radio world has had a number of developments recently which are worth passing along. I remind you that this column doesn’t work without your input. Whether it’s company news, personal news, a brand success story, a creative idea or something else that you think would be valuable to our readers, if you have an item worth passing along, please send an email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s the latest information.

Last week Entercom confirmed the rumors of a flip to talk in San Diego. Those who were expecting Energy 97.3 to become a full service FM sports station though were left with only part of their appetite fulfilled. The station has been rebranded as 97.3 The Machine. The lineup includes some sports via San Diego Padres baseball and Dan Sileo in middays. The Machine though is taking a different approach in both drive times, focusing on hot talk and comedy courtesy of The Men’s Room and Kevin Klein Live. Evening and weekend programming will include a mixture of classic rock and comedy bits. With San Diego having just one professional team and two sports stations with established local talent in place, The Machine is hoping a different approach allows it to make a greater impact.

One show which is not part of the new lineup on 97.3 The Machine is The Jim Rome Show. Rome was recently dropped by The Mighty 1090, the San Diego station where he first introduced his unique brand of sports talk. Despite being a mainstay on the station over the past few decades, 1090 said Rome’s numbers had declined and a change was necessary. The decision created a lot of local noise which led 1090’s Market Manager Mike Glickenhaus to make a rare appearance on Scott and BR to address it. To hear the interview click here. Rome’s program has been replaced on 1090 by ESPN Radio‘s Dan Le Batard Show. Le Batard’s program has also been added to ESPN 1000 in Chicago’s evening schedule.

A little further north, Sean Farnham has quietly left the afternoon show at ESPN LA 710 after just two months on the job. The ESPN college hoops analyst and former radio host had been added to the mix in December where he was to join Marcellus Wiley and Eric Davis as part of a revised three man team. Davis though was let go the following month after sexual harassment allegations arose from his time working at the NFL Network. That led to Wiley and Farnham working together as a two-man unit. However, that too was short lived because now Farnham is gone and Travis Rodgers has been added to the mix. Local sources haven’t said much about the change. Farnham hasn’t addressed it directly either.

One place you will be able to hear Farnham going forward is on SiriusXM‘s Pac-12 radio. The satellite company has launched a series of new college conference channels. The Pac-12 product hit the air on Monday and includes a new morning show featuring Guy Haberman and Ryan Leaf, and an afternoon show with Geoff Schwartz and Kate Scott and Sean O’Connell taking turns as lead host. Farnham and Charles Arbuckle are expected to make appearances on the channel, and former Arizona State head basketball coach Bill Frieder and former Arizona State guard and Pac-12 Player of the Year Eddie House are visiting this week to discuss the Pac-12 Tournament.

SiriusXM also unveiled its ACC Radio channel. The lineup includes “ACC This Morning” with Mark Packer and Wes Durham. The afternoon slot is being branded as “ACC Today” and features the team of Chris Spatola and Jac Collinsworth. The channel also includes contributions from Fran Franschilla, Bobby Cremins, Aaron Taylor, Jonathan Vilma and Tom Luginbill.

If that wasn’t enough SiriusXM news for you, Mad Dog Sports Radio has one item to pass along as well. Danny Kanell has been added to channel’s weekday lineup. The former QB turned radio and TV analyst is joining Steve Torre weekdays from 1p-3p ET.

WEEI in Boston created some buzz on Tuesday. The radio station brought in Britt McHenry as a third host on the popular morning program Kirk and Callahan. No word if future appearances will take place with McHenry or if it’s a one-time deal. The station is also going thru a search in afternoons to fill the seat vacated by Michael Holley. McHenry has also added a Friday night TV program in Washington DC on FOX 5 working with Bram Weinstein and Guy Lambert.

Well wishes go out to Beanie Wells. The former NFL and Ohio State RB has been battling health issues which have caused him to miss time from his radio program on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. Wells said he’s been experiencing headaches and dealing with memory loss as a result of a traumatic brain injury which he suffered while playing football. The challenges have forced Wells to take on a diminished role on the show for the foreseeable future while dealing with his challenges. The station will use a rotation of co-hosts alongside host Tim Hall until further notice.

Afternoon producer and on-air host Ben Heisler is ready to take on a new challenge. After spending 4 years with 610 Sports, Heisler has announced he’s leaving the station for an opportunity as the new Director of Media Relations for Fantasy Sports Markets. Heisler says he plans to continue hosting his fantasy show on 610 and remain a fantasy insider in radio/TV/digital. He also stays active hosting a podcast for Awful Announcing. To read FSM’s release on hiring Heisler click here.

Kudos to Ben and Skin of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. The afternoon show landed an interview on February 23rd with Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant which generated a lot of mainstream media attention. The brash Cowboys wideout addressed speculation about his future in Dallas and said “I’m ready to make my mark. I don’t care what nobody is talking about, I couldn’t care less. Everybody that ain’t with Dez Bryant, they can kiss my ass.” Those remarks were followed up by Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones offering a number of non committal responses about Bryant’s future with the franchise.  To hear the Bryant interview, click here.

Westwood One‘s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament coverage will be utilized as part of Turner Sports, CBS, and the NCAA’s March Madness LIVE streaming services. The network’s play-by-play broadcasts from all 67 tournament games will be streamed along with TV coverage from Turner and CBS as part of a special “Fast Break” channel which will be similar in style to what NFL fans have become accustomed to with “Red Zone.”

Portland Trail Blazers play by play announcer Brian Wheeler continues to battle health issues. As a result, it’s forced Wheeler to restrict his availability to working only home games. Scott Lynn has been handling road games for the franchise.

Congratulations to Zach Gelb. The afternoon host and program director of 920 The Jersey FOX Sports Radio has announced he’s leaving the Trenton, NJ sports station for an opportunity on CBS Sports Radio. Gelb will be heard on weekend overnights hosting the 2a-6a ET shift. His final day with 920 will be March 15th. The radio station hasn’t announced yet how they will operate in afternoon show beyond that date. With his move to CBS Sports Radio, Gelb will also give up his part-time hosting role during the football season on 97.5 The Fanatic.

Sticking in the Tri-State area, 98.7 ESPN Radio New York host Dave Rothenberg will be honored on Saturday April 21st by his alma mater NYIT. The school has declared that day ‘Dave Rothenberg Day‘. The special day will include an appearance by Rothenberg and his on-air partners Chris Canty and Rick DiPietro at the school’s LaCrosse game against LIU Post. The trio will preside over a ceremonial faceoff among other activities. For more information click here.

Hall of Fame broadcaster and the voice of the San Francisco Giants Jon Miller appeared on the Watch The Media podcast with John Shrader. Miller offered his insights on a number of subjects including his admiration for Vin Scully and his call of Hank Aaron’s 715th homerun, Barry Bonds’ homerun chase, his lengthy career and more. To hear it click here.

SB Nation Radio has launched a new show. Two Man Game features former NBA star Mario Elie and local host Joel Blank. The program is scheduled to debut on March 10th and will air each Saturday from 3p-4p ET.

In South Florida, Alpha Media Hot AC morning co-host Kevin Rolston has been handed the keys to his own sports program on 640 The Hurricane. Rolston is now installed weekdays from 3p-4p ET and hosting the show affectionately titled “Kevin’s Other Show.”

After 42 years, John ‘JT’ Thompson decided it was time to step away from mornings on Talk/Sports 960 WBST in South Bend. The station has replaced Thompson’s show with ESPN Radio‘s Wingo and Golic.

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.”

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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.”

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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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Sports Radio News

Gregg Giannotti: ‘Drew Brees Isn’t Used To Not Succeeding’

“He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”

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What does the future hold for Drew Brees? Andrew Marchand reports that he is set to leave NBC. Brees himself says nothing is decided yet.

On Monday morning, Boomer & Gio discussed why the former quarterback is in this position just one year after making his broadcasting debut. Gregg Giannotti noted that if Brees was brought to NBC with the idea that he would eventually be the top game analyst, the criticism he faced last year and the network’s decision to stick with Cris Collinsworth in the Sunday Night Football booth were likely unexpected blows to his ego.

“That’s a tough spot, man, for him,” Gio said. “The guy’s been beloved his whole career. He did go through a little bit of it when people were all over his ass for saying the wrong thing one time, but here he goes. He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”

Boomer Esiason added that the criticism Drew Brees received for his work in the broadcast booth did not apply to his work on Football Night in America or the Sunday Night Football halftime show.

“He was good in the studio,” Boomer Esiason said. “I saw him in the studio and I liked him.”

Brees prefers calling games to work in the studio. According to Marchand’s report, that is what is at the heart of his potential exit from NBC.

The color commentator role may come with more prestige, but it isn’t easy. Esiason has experience with both positions. He calls games on the radio for Westwood One and has been a staple of CBS’s The NFL Today since 2002.

“Some guys are not meant to be game analysts, that’s all.”

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