Sports media news has been surfacing across the country once again. Here are the latest developments for you to be aware of. As a reminder, if you have a news tip or promotion to share, you can email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. I’m also reachable on Twitter @sportsradiopd.
- Drew Olson has left Milwaukee sports radio station ESPN 540, a place he has called home since 2004. Olson broadcasted his final show on Friday alongside on-air partner Dan Needles. He says he’s planning to focus on his sports media training company, Crush It. Needles will remain on the radio station, joining forces with Bryan Dee who will take over for Olson.
- In May, 1320 The Fan in Salt Lake City dropped local host Tim Lewis and elected to carry CBS Sports Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney” on an interim basis during morning drive. Well now it seems the radio station has gone outside the box to find a solution. The Fan has added “The Bob and Tom Show” to morning drive, hoping to differentiate its programming from other local market brands 700 ESPN and 1280 The Zone.
- A change in morning drive has been made in Portland once again on Rip City Radio. The iHeart sports station featured the team of “Bunker and Danforth” in mornings from February 2015 to June 2016. But then Andy Bunker announced he was leaving the radio station to move to Atlanta. Taylor Danforth moved forward with new partner Dan Sheldon, but apparently that experiment is over, as Danforth left the radio station in July, one month after Bunker. As of now the station is promoting “Rip City Mornings” as its local show but no names are featured on the station’s website or social media pages. Once we have a future announcement to pass along we’ll fill you in.
- Speaking of mornings, ESPN LA 710 has been rumored to be adding more local programming to its lineup. A few notable names have been in recently including Ryen Russillo, Jorge Sedano, Marc James, Robin Lundberg and Jonathan Hood. The station is searching for a partner to work alongside afternoon host Marcellus Wiley, but is also taking a look at extending mornings. One name that has surfaced as a possibility to be part of the mix is former ESPN NFL Analyst Keyshawn Johnson. Bristol sources say that the company is open to continuing a relationship with the former wide receiver despite not keeping him on Sunday NFL Countdown.
- After being rumored to call Los Angeles Rams radio broadcasts, Andrew Siciliano didn’t sign on to call the action during the regular season, but he has agreed to serve as play by play man for the team during the pre-season. The NFL Network host is calling pre-season games on television alongside Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk.
- Here’s one story that seems to surface every six months – sports radio personality Kevin Slaten has left 590 The Fan KFNS in St. Louis…AGAIN. Slaten who has bounced around the local market now says he plans to return to political talk with the Insane Broadcasting Company which is owned by Bob Romanik. New KFNS boss Tim McKernan has yet to announce who will fill afternoons but after a prior bad episode with Slaten while running CBS Sports Radio 920, this allows McKernan to move in a different direction.
- Longtime WWLS Sports Animal talk show host Al Eschbach will celebrate 40 years on the air in Oklahoma City with a special show this Wednesday from 4p-8p. His guests will include OU men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger, OU football coach Bob Stoops, former OU basketball coach Billy Tubbs, former OU football coach Barry Switzer, Houston basketball coach Kelvin Sampson, and a slew of others.
- FOX Sports 920 The Jersey has reached a deal to carry Rutgers football on the radio station. The brand will partner with IMG to provide Rutgers coverage for the 2016 college football season.
- Sports Radio 1340 The Fan in Lubbock, Texas has signed on for a third straight season as an affiliate of the Denver Broncos. The Townsquare radio station will carry all pre-season, regular season, and playoff games, along with a two-hour pre-game show and one-hour post-game show. Coverage is supplied by the Broncos Radio Network which originates out of Denver on 850 KOA. The company’s sister station Awesome 98 is also a Houston Texans affiliate.
- ESPN West Palm 106.3 is also adding an affiliation. The radio station has signed on as a play by play affiliate for Miami Dolphins broadcasts. The Good Karma sports station will also feature a Thursday night call-in with Dolphins General Manager Mike Tannenbaum.
- Shifting to Nashville, 102.5 The Game has moved former afternoon host Willy Daunic to middays alongside Darren McFarland, and former Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason. The trio will be re-branded as “3-D, Darren, Derrick and Daunic”. Daunic previously hosted with George Plaster, and former Titans GM Floyd Reese.
- The Midday 180 in Nashville needs a new producer. Former producer Steve Ulrey worked his final shift on Friday August 12th. Ulrey is apparently launching a business. The Midday 180 are presently one of the highest rated midday shows in the sports talk radio format.
- Speaking of the Midday 180, one of the show’s hosts, Chad Withrow, has signed on to be the new TV host for a Saturday morning program titled “Varsity XTRA”. The show will air in the Nashville area on MyTV30.
- Steve Lippo has been named the new Executive Producer for NBC Sports in Chicago. Lippo had been working as a producer for Laurence Holmes’ show on 120 Sports.
- Congratulations to Ryan Cooley who has accepted a new opportunity in sales at WEEI in Boston. Cooley announced on Facebook that he was leaving his position as 1080 The Fan’s Sales Manager in Portland, Oregon to move to the northeast and join the Boston sports radio station.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Nick Wilson: Deshaun Watson Press Conference ‘Insulting’ To Local Media
“You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters get to say, ask, or think.”
Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson met with the media for the first time yesterday since being reinstated by the NFL after the league ruled he was guilty of violating the Personal Conduct Policy due to improper sexual advances towards more than two dozen massage therapists. 92.3 The Fan afternoon host Nick Wilson called Watson’s press conference “trash” and “insulting” to local media.
Watson told reporters he would only answer football related questions from the assembled media members, which Wilson took issue with.
“You can’t bury this story simply by saying ‘I won’t talk about it’,” Wilson said. “It is insulting to the media who covers this team. This is not about Nick Wilson, I promise. This is about the beat reporters who cover this team. It is insulting — intentionally or not — to say ‘You know what, guys? I love y’all, but I’m going to dictate what you ask me’.
“You don’t do that. You dictate when you speak, your opening statement, or how you respond. You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters — who work very hard day in, day out covering this organization, covering Deshaun Watson, covering this town — get to say, ask, or think. That was trash.”
Co-host Dustin Fox added the whole job of the media is to bring information to fans, and Watson wouldn’t allow reporters to do that Thursday, and may never do that.
Gregg Giannotti: Biggest Issue With Craig Carton, Jon Jastremski Feud Is “Mole” At WFAN
“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems.”
A feud has sprung up between WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton and former WFAN host John Jastremski. Boomer & Gio discussed the spat on Friday morning’s show, with Gregg Giannotti being troubled by a revelation.
During his New York New York podcast, a voicemail left for Jastremski asked about Carton’s comments, but the caller said a WFAN employee sent him the clip of Carton’s criticism.
“So that means we have a mole,” Boomer Esiason said.
“That right there is a problem,” Gregg Giannotti added. “‘We both have a mutual friend that still works over there’ and that person shared a link of Craig talking about JJ (Jastremski). So, clearly, that person is on JJ’s side and they’re still working here. That’s a mole! That’s someone going against the team! And I think know who that is!”
Esiason then asked if he knew the person, to which Giannotti said he did. He then asked if he would be upset by who it was, which Giannotti affirmed as well.
The show then played the final portion of Jastremski’s rant, which included him saying to Carton “I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike.”
“Jesus!” Esiason exclaimed. “Good for JJ, though. Standing up for himself.”
“I like both of these guys. I do. I got respect for both of them,” said Giannotti. “Everybody doesn’t have to go to the jail, crook thing with Craig every single time. Do they? It’s low-hanging fruit. Everybody goes there. There’s no way he can defend himself in that way because everybody saying ‘You went to jail’ didn’t go to jail, and it’s not apples and oranges. But the business stuff is apples-to-apples.
“So when I hear that, I’m just like ‘Ok, you went there. Be a little more creative than that’. As far as I listen to legend things, please, nobody has given me worse advice in my life than Mike Francesa did. Nobody. I would still be out in the newsroom cutting Islander highlights if I listened to that guy. And the only reason why Mike liked JJ was because he didn’t feel he was a threat. The only people Mike likes is the people he feels non-threatened by. And that’s where that comes from.”
After concluding Jastremski’s rant was a “little over the top”, Giannotti then turned his attention to the “mole” inside the station.
“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems. That — to me — is an issue. The guy on the voicemail said ‘We may or may not have a mutual friend that still works at the radio station’ and this guy just slammed the radio station. And he’s friends with the guy who slammed the radio station and then slammed Craig and this guy’s on their side?! And this guy that works here is on their side?! That to me is a major, major problem.”
Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’
“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”
Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.
That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.
Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.
“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”
Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.
“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”
Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.