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Frank Isola: Steph Curry Makes NBA Writers’ Jobs Easier

“He takes his profession seriously. He knows he has a great life; and he also knows it’s really not that important.”

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This week has been especially disconcerting throughout professional sports. It’s been a stark reminder that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.

75 positive COVID-19 tests for the National Football League in the span of two days, various postponed games across the National Hockey League, 37 players currently in National Basketball Association health and safety protocols, including Milwaukee Bucks all-star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brooklyn Nets all-star guard James Harden.

Thankfully, professional sports had a bright spot to look to on Tuesday, from “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” Golden State Warriors all-star guard Stephen Curry broke the NBA three-point record, knocking down his 2,974th shot from beyond the arc. When the moment happened, the world of sports media stopped and relished in the greatness of what had just taken place. It seemed like a storybook ending to the transformative impact Curry, 33, has had on the game since his debut in the 2009 season, as he surpassed the mark set by Hall of Famer member Ray Allen in 511 fewer games.

Unsurprisingly, Curry’s record-breaking shot was the talk of sports radio in some capacity all around the United States Tuesday morning, including in his home marketplace: the Bay Area. Murph & Mac on KNBR in San Francisco, in conversation with radio and television personality Frank Isola, spoke not only about Curry’s greatness on the court, but also his characteristics off the court that make him one of the most likable players in the game.

Isola is an experienced journalist who covered the Knicks for both the New York Daily News and The Athletic throughout his career, and called the Warriors’ organization “first-class,” including its communications team. The morning drive radio program referenced a Tweet from the Warriors’ Senior Vice President of Communications Raymond Ridler to put Curry’s understanding of the importance of the night into perspective.

For those keeping score, that’s seven – yes, seven – different media commitments Curry performed, and on a game day nonetheless. Translate that to basketball jargon, and it’s a three-pointer and a foul to make a four point play.

“Raymond is great, [and] his whole staff does a terrific job,” said Isola. “It also tells you again – the one thing about Steph Curry: He takes his profession seriously. He knows he has a great life; and he also knows it’s really not that important.”

From a media perspective, Curry’s professionalism and cooperation with the public relations team makes the Warriors organization stronger as a whole, allowing for the promotion of the team brand and star player without hassle. Moreover, it has rendered him into an easy player to root for and to cover, something of a rarity in today’s NBA, according to Isola.

“We know how it is in the media,” said Isola. “[The] greatness is what is going to attract you to Steph Curry. The fact that he’s so likable; how can you not root for a guy like that?”

Curry thanked fans at The Garden and from afar for making last night special in a video he posted to Twitter this morning, and hopes to keep playing long enough to extend his new record so it will not be broken.

For hosts Brian Murphy and Phil McCaffrey, having an athlete like Curry is “one in a million,” and the ability to have a New York journalist like Frank Isola on the show to discuss the feat is exactly what they were hoping for from the very beginning.

“So what I said to ‘Waterboy’ on Monday [is that] ‘Steph’s going to break the record. We need a great New York-based writer, somebody like a Frank Isola,’” reminisced Murphy. “I had no idea – ‘Waterboy’ says this morning: ‘Frank Isola at 8:35…’ [Isola’s] always good, and I knew he’d be a great guy to get, and props to ‘Waterboy’ for getting him.”

“I feel like I want to do a weekly hit with Frank. He was so damn good,” concurred MacCaffrey. “[That was a] really great conversation.”

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Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte

“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”

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Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.

Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin. 

“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”

Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.

“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”

Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.

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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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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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