After three years as play-by-play voice for the New Orleans Saints Radio Network and their flagship WWL, Zach Strief is leaving the broadcast booth and returning to the field.
Strief recently announced he’s joining the Saints as their assistant offensive line coach. He played 12-years with the Saints, serving as a starter for more than half of his career and helping the team to a Super Bowl championship during the 2009 season.
In 2018, Strief took an unprecedented route, retiring from football and joining the Saints Radio Network as their play-by-play voice despite having no experience. The unlikely hire was tasked with replacing Jim Henderson, who’s voice became synonymous with the Saints after more than 30 years on their radio call. Now, the 37-year-old retired offensive lineman is set to take another job that he has no experience with: coaching.
“Up until five weeks ago, if you’d asked me if I’d ever make this change, I would have said ‘never,’” Strief told WWL radio according to NOLA.com. “It’s been an interesting few weeks getting to the realization.”
Not lost on Strief was how unusual his path to broadcasting was, landing a play-by-play job that other professional broadcasters spend decades trying to achieve.
“Announcing Saints games was every bit as exciting and challenging as I thought it would be,” Strief said in a press release. “So many people stuck their neck out to give me this chance, none more so than Diane Newman (WWL brand manager). My hope on the first day was that I would validate the faith that she placed in me. She trusted that I would learn the broadcasting business and grow in the profession.”
Entercom now begins their search to fill the void left by Strief and find the next radio play-by-play voice of the Saints. The company said they’re looking for someone who can provide professional play calls with personality and insight to the broadcast. But if Strief is any precedent, one requirement that might not be necessary is experience.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Boomer Esiason Wonders If Joe Buck Was Criticized Before Energetic Monday Night Football Open
“Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”
Monday Night Football got off to an energetic start last night, with the usually reserved Joe Buck showcasing an exuberant attitude while discussing the weather and the fact that the calendar has already flipped to December. WFAN morning host Boomer Esiason wondered if there was an ulterior motive to Buck’s raucous start.
In addition to the energy exuded by the Monday Night Football announcer, Buck nearly howeld in excitement as the network showcased Tom Brady’s usual scream of “Let’s F—ing Go!”, by shouting “Yeah! Let’s go! I can’t say one of those words!”
The excitement was noticed by Boomer & Gio update anchor Jerry Recco who played the audio for the show, with Boomer Esiason wondering if Buck was proving a point to someone.
“Maybe somebody told him he was too downcast the previous broadcast,” Esiason wondered. “Maybe he was doing that emphatically because somebody criticized him as flat or something.”
Mike Conti: ‘Appaling’ That ‘Some Creep’ Posted Bob Rathbun Video Online
“He is a true gentleman. He is a friend to all of us. It was hard for me to do the broadcast last night having watched that.”
Bob Rathbun, the television voice of the Atlanta Hawks, suffered a scary medical emergency on Monday night and it was captured on live television. The video then spread across the internet thanks to Twitter.
Mike Conti, the program director at 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, is part of the station’s coverage of the Hawks. He admitted that when he saw the video, he had trouble getting in the right headspace to do the game.
“Bob’s a friend to all of us,” he said Tuesday morning as he talked to John & Hugh, the station’s morning show. “He is a true gentleman. He is a friend to all of us. It was hard for me to do the broadcast last night having watched that.”
Conti noted that he was not watching TV when the incident happened. He saw the video on social media and is not happy about that.
“Some creep decided to post the video online, which I thought was appalling, but I could not avoid the video. It came up on my Twitter.”
The video is indeed disturbing. Awful Announcing posted the video on Twitter Monday night, but deleted it after backlash from members of the Atlanta media.
Bally Sports Southeast issued a statement after the game saying that Bob Rathbun was treated for dehydration. Conti reported that he had spoken to Rathbun, who is expected to fully recover.
“He’s good. He’s okay,” Conti said. “I don’t want to say too much just to respect Bob’s privacy, but I think Bob would be okay with me saying Bob is okay.”
WEEI Producer Begins Campaign To Get Greg Hill into Radio Hall of Fame
“He has been around for a long time in the Boston radio scene and raised a lot of money for charity and done a lot of good things and a lot of good radio.”
Greg Hill already has a Marconi, but that honor isn’t enough according to one of his producers.
Jackson, who hosts The Greg Hill Show’s after-show podcast, revealed on Monday that he is ready to make the case to the Radio Hall of Fame for the WEEI morning man to be included in next year’s induction ceremony.
He said that Hill treats the Marconi Award he won for Major Market Personality of the Year like it belongs to everyone. Hill credits not just the current cast he works with on WEEI, but partners from his days at active rocker WAAF as well, with helping him take home that award. Jackson wants to see Hill get an honor that is just for him.
“The Radio Hall of Fame would be very much Greg only, and I think he needs that solo recognition. Not for his ego, but for posterity and for his legend because he is legendary,” Jackson said. “He has been around for a long time in the Boston radio scene and raised a lot of money for charity and done a lot of good things and a lot of good radio.”
This year, the Radio Hall of Fame included a trio of WFAN legends in its induction class with found Jeff Smulyan, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and Suzyn Waldman all being honored.
Jackson says he is taking it upon himself to make the case for Greg Hill getting in, but he encouraged listeners to find out what they can do and then do it. While he made it clear that Hill deserves the honor, Jackson acknowledged that the recognition would make him feel pretty good too.
“That would be cool because then I would be working for a Radio Hall-of-Famer and in the circle of trust of a Radio Hall-of-Famer perhaps.”