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VCU Apologizes to Rhode Island Broadcaster For Improper Access to Radio Booth

“To ask you to climb a ladder and hop a fence… it’s just not something I would do, wasn’t willing to even try. It would have been a disaster for me.”

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WJAR

The VCU athletic department to the University of Rhode Island and broadcaster Shane Donaldson for not providing proper access to the broadcast area during Wednesday’s basketball game.

The radio desk for the URI road broadcast was placed behind a rail that required using a stepladder to climb over. For Donaldson, who has cerebral palsy, navigating the stepladder and climbing over the rail presented an impossible situation.

Donaldson posted a picture on Twitter of the setup for the road radio desk at VCU’s Siegel Center.

“I knew right away looking at it, it’s not something I would have been able to do,” Donaldson told Providence’s CBS 6. “To ask you to climb a ladder and hop a fence… it’s just not something I would do, wasn’t willing to even try. It would have been a disaster for me.”

VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin told CBS 6’s Lane Casadonte in a statement that he apologized to Donaldson and URI athletic director Thorr Bjorn.

“In both open and honest conversations, I apologized on behalf of VCU Athletics for causing undue emotional harm,” said McLaughlin. “I have a great deal of respect for the entire Rhode Island Department of Athletics and for the work that Shane does.”

McLaughlin went on to say the athletic department and facility staff would work with the university’s ADA (American with Disabilities Act) office to properly address the situation and continue to “foster an environment of inclusion and belonging.”

In his statement, McLaughlin also said that facility staff offered alternate accommodations immediately upon being told of the broadcast setup but the URI radio team “chose not to accept.” Donaldson explained that was because attempts to fix the situation were on the fly and there wasn’t an apparent set plan and called the lack of thought applied to the issue “appalling.”

“It was kind of like they were looking over the arena,” said Donaldson. “And saying, we’ll try to figure out somewhere else to put you.”

Donaldson explained to Providence’s WJAR that it was too close to game time to work out a viable solution, but he still wanted to make sure this issue wasn’t ignored.

“This is not the kind of attention that I would want to be a part of,” Donaldson told NBC 10’s Christina Vitale, “but it doesn’t make anything better for anybody else if you don’t shine a light on this kind of thing and say here we are in 2022, how is this acceptable?”

According to CBS 6, VCU moved the radio broadcast tables to their current location prior to this season to accommodate more floor seating for fans. The Atlantic 10 Conference only requires that radio broadcast stations are provided, with no mandate as to where they’re located.

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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