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Brandon Kravitz: Barstool Made It Possible For Deion Sanders to Land Top Recruit

“He’s using the portal of Barstool to create an opportunity for the guy that he just recruited.”

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The early national signing window opened with a bang in college football on Wednesday, as the nation’s top college recruit announced he would be committing to play under the leadership of Deion Sanders at Jackson State University.

Travis Hunter had offers on the table from Georgia, Auburn and Florida State, where Sanders made himself a household name. But instead he chose to play at an HBCU at the FCS level.

Brandon Kravitz, host of “In the Zone” on 96.9 The Game in Orlando, alongside co-host Stefan Gilliam, said relaxed Name Image Likeness (NIL) rules, coupled with Sanders having a platform on Barstool, ultimately led to Hunter’s commitment.

“I did not realize that Deion Sanders was in the pockets of Barstool Sports,” Kravitz said. “He’s got a podcast (21st and Prime) on their site, he’s got his own webpage on barstoolsports.com, there’s a video feature to (the podcast) as well, and then he gets this recruit.”

Kravitz added that there’s likely a lot of NIL money on the table for Hunter by going to Jackson State, and they played a clip of a recent appearance by Sanders on a podcast with Barstool president Dave Portnoy and Dan “Big Cat” Katz where Sanders eluded to a big-time signing. Katz said Sanders basically pioneered NIL and the transfer portal in college football.

“He’s using the portal of Barstool to create an opportunity for the guy that he just recruited,” Kravitz said.

Barstool has also been on a warpath signing student-athletes at all levels and sports to NIL deals. Gilliam said the popularity of Barstool with college-aged kids and the platform presented not just to hall of famers like Sanders but to student-athletes with their NIL program is changing the landscape of recruiting.

“It shows you the leverage that’s now available to schools everywhere in order to be able to bring recruits and kids in the portal to their university,” he said. “Because in a true competitive marketplace, you’ve opened the doors where a five-star recruit can go to an FCS school and not only get paid, but he’s still a kid that loves to play football. So you know he believes that he’s going to do well.”

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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