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ESPN Radio Returns to Pensacola

Brandon Contes

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ESPN Radio returned to Pensacola, Florida thanks to ADX Communications, owned by Dave and Mary Hoxeng.

In June 2017, owner Dan Weaver pulled the plug on ESPN Pensacola, switching formats after nearly six years broadcasting sports talk on 1450AM and 101.1FM.  Following a more than year long absence in the market, 94.5 is the new home for ESPN Pensacola.

“Our radio family is thrilled to bring ESPN back to Pensacola,” said owners Dave and Mary Hoxeng in a statement posted on the station website. “Our family has worked hard to create ESPN Pensacola and are proud to serve local sports fans.”

ESPN Pensacola 94.5 will broadcast the ESPN Radio lineup including Paul Finebaum in the afternoon, a popular program which listeners in the market have been without since last June.  For local programming, ESPN Pensacola will carry Talk Football with Coach Kay, weekdays from noon-1pm.  Host Kay Stephenson is a former Pensacola High School graduate who went on to quarterback the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, later serving as head coach of the Bills for three seasons.

94.5 will also serve as the radio home for the University of Western Florida Football.  More local programming is expected to be added to 94.5 led by Chad Brillante, who hosted on the original ESPN Pensacola and joined the station’s reboot as sports director.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

97.5 ESPN Hosts Want Ian Eagle to Broadcast Deshaun Watson’s Return to Houston

“Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn? I don’t want Spero Dedes and Jay Feely. I don’t want Tom McCarthy and Tiki Barber.”

Jordan Bondurant

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The Wheelhouse

The news of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s 11-game suspension was the story of the day in sports talk radio on Thursday, and for good reason.

Watson will be eligible to return to the Browns in Week 13 following the team’s bye week. It just so happens that Cleveland is scheduled to play at Watson’s former team, the Houston Texans, in Week 13.

Call it fate, or call it a calculated move by the NFL. ESPN Houston host Brad Kellner said on The Wheelhouse on Thursday that the league knew what they were doing when they landed on an 11-game suspension for Watson.

“This is the umpteenth time that the NFL has made a decision for money and ratings,” Kellner said. “This is what they do. It’s why they’re king. Of course they’re opening themselves up to criticism. But oh my god, that game, the ticket sales and the TV ratings? It’s gonna be maybe the most-watched NFL game the entire year.”

With it being an AFC matchup, CBS will likely carry coverage of the much anticipated contest. Host Cody Stoots said those tuning in to watch everything unfold on television shouldn’t expect the network to shuffle the assignment deck and have its top broadcast team on the call.

“From a TV perspective, you’re not gonna get Nantz and Romo and Tracy Wolfson,” Stoots said. “They’re gonna do the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals that week, just looking at the schedule. But you gotta get the number two team to the Texans/Browns, though. Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn? I don’t want Spero Dedes and Jay Feely. I don’t want Tom McCarthy and Tiki Barber.”

Stoots, Kellner and Jake Asman both tossed around the idea of the game being flexed to NBC for Sunday night, but Kellner said the game will likely stay where it is on the schedule.

“They might just leave it at noon to try to minimize the headlines, even though they could’ve done that a lot better by giving him a full season suspension,” Kellner said.

Stoots added that having the game kick off at noon local time would probably be the smartest thing for the league to do in an effort to downplay Watson’s return. But the broadcast crew calling the game won’t be the bottom of the barrel either.

“They’re gonna act like it’s not a big deal, and you shouldn’t be focusing on this game, and then all of a sudden Ian Eagle is going to call his first Texans game all season, because they don’t want Spero Dedes and Jay Feely breaking it down,” Stoots said.

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Sports Radio News

Jim Rome: ‘Al Michaels Was Only Talk2 Guest That Didn’t Cancel After Jim Everett Fight’

“People don’t want to associate or be attached to you if they think you’re toxic like that, and he didn’t cancel.”

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Jim Rome has different, deeper conversations on The Jim Rome Podcast than he does on his CBS Sports Radio show. The latest episode features former Notre Dame and NFL star Manti Te’o.

The interview is a promotion for Netflix’s latest Untold documentary, The Girlfriend That Didn’t Exist. In the episode, Te’o talked about the friends that stood by him while so many were laughing at him being the victim of a catfishing scheme.

Rome related. He took Te’o back to 1994.

Right after his infamous interview with Saints quarterback Jim Everett aired on his ESPN2 show Talk2, Jim Rome says he was labeled as toxic and he and his producers felt the consequences.

“All the sudden, no athletes wanted to talk to me initially and people were cancelling their appearances on the show,” he said.

One person that didn’t cancel was Al Michaels, who was working for ABC at the time.

Not only did Michaels not cancel, but he was on Talk2 the night after the infamous interview, which turned into a physical altercation aired.

“I said ‘Al, I cannot tell you how much this means to me,. Why did you not cancel?’. He said ‘Because you’re a friend and I knew you needed it and I knew it would make a difference.’ You never forget stuff like that, do you?”

Rome told Te’o that he understands that Michaels, whether he knew it or not, was taking a risk. The broadcast legend showing up was proof that he was in Rome’s corner and helped Rome regain some credibility that he was worried could have been lost forever.

“People don’t want to associate or be attached to you if they think you’re toxic like that, and he didn’t cancel.”

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Sports Radio News

Joe Starkey, Voice of the Cal Golden Bears and of “The Play,” To Retire After 2022

“It has been an incredible privilege to have the best seat in the house to watch Cal football since 1975,” Starkey said.

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Joe Starkey

Joe Starkey will call it a career after the 2022 season, his 48th as voice of the California Golden Bears.

Starkey, best known for his call of “The Play” during the 1982 Cal/Stanford game, will turn 81 in October.

California will have a memorable season for Starkey’s final one with the team. Cal plays Notre Dame for the first time in 55 years. They will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of “The Play” when the two teams square up in the 125th edition of the Big Game.

“It has been an incredible privilege to have the best seat in the house to watch Cal football since 1975,” Starkey said. “My first position in sportscasting was in 1972, and I have had some truly special assignments. But of all the places I have worked, the one constant has been Cal football.

Cal will celebrate “Joe Starkey Day” for the team’s regular-season finale against UCLA. Starkey began his career at Cal in 1975 and has been on the call for 538 of the 545 Cal football contests since. He celebrated his 500th Cal game against Oregon on Sept. 29, 2018.

“Joe Starkey’s commitment and service to Cal football have been unwavering for nearly a half-century,” Cal’s Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said. “I’m excited to celebrate and honor all of Joe’s great work over the years and make 2022 his best season yet with the Bears. He will always have a home in Berkeley and with Cal football.”  

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