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Root Sports Launching In Houston

Jason Barrett

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AT&T and DirecTV were granted a clear path Thursday to launch Root Sports Houston, the new television home for Astros and Rockets games, and to begin televising Rockets games as early as this month.

Based on an agreement between Comcast lawyers and attorneys for AT&T, DirecTV, the Astros and Rockets, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes dissolved the last court-imposed delay against closing the new network deal.

However, it remains unclear when Comcast SportsNet Houston, the teams’ current home, will fade to black and Root Sports Houston, which will have carriage on DirecTV and AT&T U-verse in addition to Comcast cable, will take its place.

“There’s still a process. We don’t have an announcement on when this will allow us to (launch the new network),” said Rockets general counsel Rafael Stone. “But there’s a clear path with no more legal obstacles.”

Attorneys reached an agreement that allows Comcast to continue its appeal on financial aspects of the year-long CSN Houston bankruptcy case and for the teams to close on the transactions that will accompany the network sale and the transfer of their broadcast rights to Root Sports Houston.

Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur on Oct. 30 approved a reorganization plan that approved the sale of the Astros-Rockets-Comcast-owned network to AT&T and DirecTV. He also imposed a 14-day stay to allow Comcast to appeal the ruling.

Comcast appealed Isgur’s ruling to Hughes and sought to stay the decision while it appealed.

However, Comcast attorneys said Wednesday their primary motive on appeal will be to recoup a $100 million loan granted CSN Houston for startup costs in 2012 and that they would not stand in the way of launching the new network.

Attorneys for the teams, in turn, agreed the new network’s launch would not be viewed as nullifying Comcast’s rights on appeal.

Accordingly. Hughes denied the motion to stay Isgur’s order and also terminated the automatic stay granted by the bankruptcy court.

Attorneys earlier indicated the new network could launch on Nov. 14, but DirecTV would not confirm that date. CSN Houston’s current telecast schedule now extends through Sunday, Nov. 16.

“It’s great for the city,” said Rockets owner Leslie Alexander. “It’s great for the Rockets fans, and I’m thrilled. Thank you very much to Judge Hughes for letting fans be able to watch the Rockets.”

Astros general counsel Giles Kibbe added, “We’re ready to get the games on TV. It’s great to start the Rockets’ season. It’s great for the fans of Houston. It’s an exciting time.”

Under the reorganization plan approved by Isgur, the teams and Comcast will lose their network equity, and the teams agreed to forego immediate payment of more than $100 million in unpaid rights fees.

Only 45 of the 141 CSN Houston employees will be retained by the new network, which will show Rockets and Astros games but will not retain CSN Houston’s news and talk shows.

Comcast will continue to contest Isgur’s determination that Comcast is not due full repayment of its $100 million secured loan. Comcast is now scheduled to receive only $26 million.

Attorneys met behind closed doors for more than 90 minutes Wednesday and also met with Hughes, who apparently encouraged a settlement that would enable him to avoid having to rule on the stay request.

“One reason I want to handle this as expeditiously as possible is so I can get rid of you guys,” he said. “This hasn’t been much fun the last 15 months.”

Attorneys now will work on legal briefings related to the financial issues, which may be discussed after the Thanksgiving holidays.

CSN Houston launched in October 2012 but was never available on DirecTV, U-verse, Dish Network or Suddenlink cable. Limited carriage resulted in limited revenue, and Comcast filed to put the network into involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2013 when the Astros said they would retake their broadcast rights because of unpaid rights fees.

Credit to the Houston Chronicle who originally posted this article

Sports Radio News

Doug Gottlieb Details Interviewing For College Basketball Head Coaching Vacancy

“I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up.”

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Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb recently interviewed for the vacant head coaching job at Wisconsin-Green Bay and detailed the experience on his podcast.

“I got a chance to talk to (Wisconsin-Green Bay AD) Josh Moon several times during the year after they had made their coaching job available and my approach to how I’ve done these things — and this is not the first time I’ve gone down this path, but this was a different path,” Gottlieb said on his All Ball podcast.

“This is a low-major, mid-major job, and there’s no connection there. I’ve told people that for the radio element to — for the right thing — I’d give it up. The (podcast), I’m not giving it up. I love doing it and I think there’s a very smart world where if I’m coaching I can still do this podcast and still do it with basketball people all over the country and the world, and it’s kind of like a cheat code.”

He continued by saying that seeing Shaka Smart be successful at Marquette has motivated him to continue to search for the right fit as a college basketball coach.

“That’s what I want to do. And last year when I was coaching in Israel, that also continued to invigorate me…this is something that I would really like to do. It has to be the right thing. It has to be the right AD who hits the right message.”

He continued by saying that a sticking point of negotiations was he wasn’t willing to give up his nationally syndicated radio program for the job. He was willing to take less money for his assistants pool, but also to continue doing his radio show.

Gottlieb did not get the position with the Phoenix, noting that he was a finalist but was never offered the job. The position ultimately went to Wyoming assistant coach Sundance Wicks. Wicks had previous head coaching experience and had worked with Green Bay athletic director Josh Moon at Division II Northern State. He admitted he wasn’t necessarily “all-in” on the job due to the current ages of his children and whether the timing was right to uproot his family to move to Northeastern Wisconsin.

The Fox Sports Radio host does have coaching experience. He has worked as a coach for the U.S. men’s basketball team at the Maccabiah Games, sometimes referred to as the Jewish Olympics.

Gottlieb’s father — Bob — was the head men’s basketball coach at Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 1975-1980, compiling a 97-91 record.

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Waddle & Silvy: Scott Hanson Told Us to Lose His Number

“We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”

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Aaron Rodgers took immense pride in the fact that he told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter to “lose his number” while discussing his future earlier this week on The Pat McAfee Show. ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy said they’ve experienced similar treatment from guests on their radio show.

While discussing the Rodgers interview with McAfee, the pair admitted that NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson once told their producer to stop trying to book him for interviews on the program.

“I believe the presentation was ‘Do me a favor: lose my number after this interview’,” Tom Waddle said. “So he tried to do it politely. Scott Hanson did. Get out of here. That concept is foreign to me. How about ‘Hey, next time you text me, my schedule is full. I can’t do it, but thanks for thinking of me’. ‘Lose my number?’ You ain’t the President, for Christ’s sake. I’m saying that to anyone who would say that. ‘Lose my number?’ We’re all in the communication business. I just don’t know — why be rude like that to people? What does that accomplish? You know what it accomplished? We didn’t call him back, so he set out what he wanted to do.”

Co-host Mark Silverman then mentioned that the show once tried to book Hansen and NFL Red Zone host Andrew Siciliano together in the same block, with the idea of doing a trivia game to see who the supreme Red Zone host was. Siciliano agreed, but Hansen declined.

The pair also confirmed that an NFL Network personality had told them to lose their number, but couldn’t remember if it was Rich Eisen or not.

Silverman later joked that maybe Hanson was getting a new phone with a new number, and was politely sharing with the producer that he could lose the current phone number because he would share his new number in short order.

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Seth Payne: Aaron Rodgers ‘Makes Gross Inaccuracies’ When Calling Out Media

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations.”

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Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is always mad at the media for the inaccurate things he says they report, but according to Sports Radio 610 morning man Seth Payne, no one is more inaccurate than the quarterback himself.

Friday morning, Payne and his partner Sean Pendergast played audio of Aaron Rodgers responding to a question about a list of players he provided to the Jets demanding they sign. Rodgers called the idea that he would make demands “so stupid” and chastised ESPN reporter Dianna Russini, who was the first to report it.

“Now to be clear, Dianna Russini didn’t say demands in her tweet. She said wishlist,” Pendergast clarified.

They also played a clip of Russini responding to Rodgers on NFL Live saying that she stands by her reporting and it is her job to reach out to confirm that it is true.

“This is where Rodgers does this thing where he, in calling out reporters for their inaccuracies, makes gross inaccuracies in his accusations,” Seth Payne said.

He added that if Rodgers is being serious, he is doing some serious nitpicking. He claims that he didn’t give the Jets a list, but that he spoke glowingly about former teammates and told the Jets executives that he met with who he enjoyed playing with during his career.

Payne joked that maybe he wrote down the names in a circle pattern so that it was not a list. Pendergast added that he could have had Fat Head stickers on his wall that he pointed to instead of writing anything at all.

In Payne’s mind, this is a case of Russini catching stray frustration. Neither in her initial tweet nor in any subsequent media appearance did she use the phrase “demands”.

“What he’s actually responding to in that instance is Pat McAfee is the one that described it as a list of demands,” Seth Payne said.

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