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Elle Duncan Tells WEEI She Left Boston Because Of Racism

“From 2014 – 2016, Duncan worked as an anchor, reporter and host for NESN, but as her contract came to a close, she already made the decision to leave Boston even without an offer from ESPN.”

Brandon Contes

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Less than a week after Michael Wilbon cited an interview with Dale & Keefe as one reason he no longer goes on Boston sports radio station WEEI as a guest, ESPN’s Elle Duncan joined the same show to discuss the racism she experienced during her time working and living in the city. 

From 2014 – 2016, Duncan worked as an anchor, reporter and host for NESN, but as her contract came to a close, she made the decision to leave Boston even without an offer from ESPN. Last week, when Wilbon addressed instances of racism at Fenway Park, Duncan responded on Twitter that she chose unemployment over working in Boston, “because of the hate and racism” there.

“It was a lot, I’m not going to lie,” Duncan told WEEI’s midday show hosts Dale Arnold and Rich Keefe. 

“We certainly were no strangers to micro-aggressions, some aggressions, what racism looked like or what it felt like,’’ Duncan said. “But in Boston we experienced it at a rate that at some point we had to start laughing about it, saying it’s almost like movie-script racism.”

While accounts of racism in Boston is not a new topic, it’s been highlighted after the Red Sox publicly released a statement acknowledging Torii Hunter’s detail of racial abuse suffered at Fenway Park as “real.” The Red Sox admission of racial incidents that occur at Fenway was viewed by many as an important step in building toward social equality, similar to NASCAR finally issuing a ban on the Confederate flag. 

“No one wants to be accused of being a city filled with racists,” Duncan said on WEEI. “I fully understand that, but what I would say to you is, how can we all be lying? How can Adam Jones and Mike Wilbon and me and Torii Hunter and the countless other African Americans who have said they’ve experienced this issue in Boston, how can we all be wrong? Why would we lie about that? I certainly wouldn’t lie and welcome what my mentions have looked like over the last couple days.”

“All of us have just happened to come across the same handful of racists? Come on, guys. Does that seem more plausible than the fact that maybe there’s an issue there? Maybe it’s not the most welcoming place? And while there’s so many incredible and amazing people that live in Boston, there’s enough that give it this reputation.”

During the interview, Duncan detailed multiple incidents of racial abuse she and her husband experienced during their time in Boston.  

Boston Globe media reporter Chad Finn supported Duncan’s admission that she chose unemployment over remaining with NESN in 2016. According to Finn, her contract with the network expired in April 2016, but throughout the five months prior, she continuously declined offers to stay with NESN even without having a new job lined up. 

“It was painful. I don’t like reliving this,” Duncan told Dale and Keefe. “It was a terrible time for me and my husband honestly. It sucked. I don’t want to have to be on here and defending myself to people. But I think we’ve moved into a time in this country where people more than ever are listening.”

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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