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How Could WFAN Make Room For Craig Carton?

“Carton would immediately create buzz in a New York sports radio scene that has turned dull without its Kay-Francesa feud.”

Brandon Contes

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For years, the idea of Craig Carton returning to WFAN has been discussed, but predicting a timeline seemed far-fetched while the polarizing radio host was in prison. With his early release one-year into a three-and-a-half-year sentence, a return to radio now seems inevitable. 

Even before he completed his sentence, WFAN did not hide their willingness to reunite with Carton. Although they don’t have an open slot in their lineup, the station would likely benefit from the spark Carton can provide. The WFAN morning show Carton helped build has continued to succeed with his replacement Gregg Giannotti. If a reunion with Boomer Esiason is off the table, it makes afternoons the most likely place for the drive-time talent. 

Carton would immediately create buzz in a New York sports radio scene that has turned dull without its Kay-Francesa feud. Current FAN afternoon hosts Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts built themselves into appointment listening for breaking Mets and Jets news, but without sports, they’ve struggled to keep pace with Kay. 

Earlier this month, Carton’s former producer and WFAN’s new market manager Chris Oliviero didn’t close the door on rehiring the polarizing host. But Oliviero also noted WFAN’s diversity issue, and hiring a 51-year old white male such as Carton won’t fix it. 

“Your host should reflect the community you serve across the spectrum – diversity, age, however you want to define that,” Oliviero recently told Newsday. “So to me that’s going to be the goal with FAN moving forward. If you put a mirror up to FAN, does it reflect New York? Clearly, we have a lot of work to do on that front. We recognize that.”

If Carton is added to WFAN’s lineup, it could bump Joe and Evan back to middays, or possibly split the two considering Benigno often talks about retirement. Marc Malusis and Maggie Gray currently fill the 10am – 2pm timeslot, with Gray’s contract set to expire at the end of this year. In afternoons, Carton would likely be paired with a former athlete in hopes of developing chemistry like the one he found with Esiason more than a decade ago. 

It might drive The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick into retirement, but former NBA player and current co-host of the All The Smoke podcast, Stephen Jackson would be an interesting pairing with Carton. Jackson has been very entertaining during his in-studio guest appearances with Boomer and Gio, while All The Smoke also shows off his unfiltered, opinionated style. 

Recently, Jackson has become a well-known personality outside the sports world, as he took on the role of social activist following the murder of his friend George Floyd. Not only can Jackson provide the athlete perspective, but he would offer great contrast to Carton and help attract a younger demographic, similar to the way ESPN New York did when they added HOT 97’s Peter Rosenberg to The Michael Kay Show

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.

Barry Jackson, a veteran journalist with the Miami Herald, reports that 790 The Ticket morning hosts Brendan Tobin and Leroy Hoard will move to that 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. WQAM slot during the week of Oct. 3.

In more station movement, Joe Rose’s WQAM morning show with Zach Krantz now will be simulcast on The Ticket, replacing the Tobin/Hoard program. Audacy, which owns both WQAM and The Ticket, also simulcast Marc Hochman’s and Channing Crowder’s afternoon show.

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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