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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.”

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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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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