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97.5 ESPN Hosts Want Ian Eagle to Broadcast Deshaun Watson’s Return to Houston

“Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn? I don’t want Spero Dedes and Jay Feely. I don’t want Tom McCarthy and Tiki Barber.”

Jordan Bondurant

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The Wheelhouse

The news of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson‘s 11-game suspension was the story of the day in sports talk radio on Thursday, and for good reason.

Watson will be eligible to return to the Browns in Week 13 following the team’s bye week. It just so happens that Cleveland is scheduled to play at Watson’s former team, the Houston Texans, in Week 13.

Call it fate, or call it a calculated move by the NFL. ESPN Houston host Brad Kellner said on The Wheelhouse on Thursday that the league knew what they were doing when they landed on an 11-game suspension for Watson.

“This is the umpteenth time that the NFL has made a decision for money and ratings,” Kellner said. “This is what they do. It’s why they’re king. Of course they’re opening themselves up to criticism. But oh my god, that game, the ticket sales and the TV ratings? It’s gonna be maybe the most-watched NFL game the entire year.”

With it being an AFC matchup, CBS will likely carry coverage of the much anticipated contest. Host Cody Stoots said those tuning in to watch everything unfold on television shouldn’t expect the network to shuffle the assignment deck and have its top broadcast team on the call.

“From a TV perspective, you’re not gonna get Nantz and Romo and Tracy Wolfson,” Stoots said. “They’re gonna do the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals that week, just looking at the schedule. But you gotta get the number two team to the Texans/Browns, though. Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan Washburn? I don’t want Spero Dedes and Jay Feely. I don’t want Tom McCarthy and Tiki Barber.”

Stoots, Kellner and Jake Asman both tossed around the idea of the game being flexed to NBC for Sunday night, but Kellner said the game will likely stay where it is on the schedule.

“They might just leave it at noon to try to minimize the headlines, even though they could’ve done that a lot better by giving him a full season suspension,” Kellner said.

Stoots added that having the game kick off at noon local time would probably be the smartest thing for the league to do in an effort to downplay Watson’s return. But the broadcast crew calling the game won’t be the bottom of the barrel either.

“They’re gonna act like it’s not a big deal, and you shouldn’t be focusing on this game, and then all of a sudden Ian Eagle is going to call his first Texans game all season, because they don’t want Spero Dedes and Jay Feely breaking it down,” Stoots said.

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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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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