Sports Radio News
Under The Radar – August 29, 2016
I’ve been on the road recently which has made writing a bigger challenge than usual. As a result, a number of sports media news items have taken place yet been underreported. To make sure you’re up to date on what’s happening in the sports media universe I bring you the latest edition of “Under The Radar“. As a reminder, if you or your company have a future news item to share please email it to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
- Congrats to Chadd Scott who has shifted from programming sports radio station 1010XL in Jacksonville to overseeing content for the website Gridiron Now. The popular SEC football driven website has grown tremendously since its launch in September 2015, creating a need to have someone like Scott more involved in the day to day operations of the brand. With his change in position, 1010XL is now searching for a new Program Director. Interested parties can apply by sending their materials to email@example.com.
- ESPN LA 710 is expected to make an announcement soon about its new weekday lineup. The radio station has been working to increase local programming in morning drive, and find a strong partner to join Marcellus Wiley in afternoons. According to sources, Jorge Sedano and Keyshawn Johnson will team up in mornings. Kelvin Washington will shift to afternoons to join Wiley. No changes are expected on the station’s midday programs. With Sedano moving to Los Angeles, network sources say Sarah Spain is likely to assume Jorge’s role on the ESPN Radio Network alongside Israel Gutierrez.
- Last week was one of the most chaotic weeks in Philadelphia sports radio history. It began with Crossing Broad reporting that producer Pat Egan at 97.5 The Fanatic created a fake African American caller named Dwayne from Swedesboro and had been phoning into Mike Missanelli’s show for two years. The controversy resulted in a suspension for three members of The Fanatic, and WIP terminating afternoon host Josh Innes. One person who took notice was Tony Bruno, who previously worked for both brands as a co-host with Innes, and a teammate of Missanelli’s. If you haven’t heard his podcast, take a listen. His opinions on the individuals involved and the situation that unfolded are as strong as they come.
- KNBR‘s parent company Cumulus Media remains locked in a battle with the SAG/AFTRA union over wages for the station’s employees. Representatives for 35 employees say that despite KNBR being one of Cumulus’ top five revenue generators (they own 453 stations), staffers are being paid minimum wage ($13 an hour). The union is asking for $17 an hour for off-air employees, and $30 an hour for on-air people. Cumulus management says the union’s claims are false, and that they’ve offered employees increases ranging from 3 to 16.3 percent, while the union continues to press for unreasonable increases as high as 145 percent.
- Former WEEI morning man John Dennis conducted an interview recently with Newscenter 5 in Boston. When asked about his departure from the popular “Dennis and Callahan” program he said his relationship with co-host Kirk Minihane wasn’t strong, but it never stopped the show from performing over the past three years. He talked about being tired and glad to not wake up anymore at 3:30am. When asked to describe Callahan he called him a good columnist who should write more. He labeled Minihane as someone who is complicated.
- Speaking of WEEI, the radio station has made a few producer changes. The station has brought back Chris Curtis to help produce the morning show. Paul Chartier has shifted to middays where he’s now producing Glenn Ordway, Lou Merloni and Christian Fauria.
- Staying in Boston, congratulations are in order for Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti who were named Boston’s favorite local sports radio show by Channel Media and Market Research. The company surveyed nearly 14,600 Boston sports fans and The Sports Hub’s afternoon show led the voting for best local program with 29% of the vote. Felger also was named favorite local radio personality, and came in second to NESN’s Tom Caron as favorite local TV personality.
- Former Detroit Sports 105.1 Program Director and On-Air host Dave Shore will be doing some sideline reporting for ESPN Radio’s NFL and College Football games. Shore’s first assignment is this Saturday working the Georgia-UNC game. He’s also looking for his next permanent radio opportunity and can be reached via email by clicking here.
- 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis has hired a new Minnesota Vikings reporter and analyst. Matthew Coller has accepted the position and left WGR in Buffalo where he spent nearly six years serving as a producer, reporter and on-air contributor and host.
- 104.9 The Horn in Austin, TX has hired Brad Kellner as producer of “Mornings with Bucky & Erin” featuring Bucky Godbolt and Erin Hogan. Kellner will also host two-hour shows on Saturday and Sunday, a one-hour Longhorn-centered show on Tuesday nights, and produce the station’s football pregame show, “Longhorn Gameday“. He spent the past year producing “The Bottom Line” with Sean Adams & Chip Brown for local competitor AM 1300 The Zone.
- ESPN 1480 in Lincoln is increasing its local programming by an hour. The station revealed today that its midday show “Gregath and Smith” will expand to three hours, airing weekdays from 9a-12p CT. It had been broadcasting 9a-11a. The local duo’s expansion leads to the elimination of Jim Rome’s show broadcasting from 11a-12p CT.
- Heather Higginbotham Halbrook has left 680 The Fan in Atlanta in order to accept a producer position with Cox Media’s “SEC Country“. Heather worked behind the scenes for 680, most often with Chuck and Chernoff. Donnie Smith is expected to assume her duties.
- Matt Jones reports that Drew Franklin will be joining his radio program on a bi-weekly basis starting after Labor Day. Jones broadcasts Kentucky Sports Radio which airs throughout the state of Kentucky on many iHeart radio stations. KSR has also promoted Maria Taustine to a FT position.
- The San Diego Padres will be moving their radio broadcasts next season from the Mighty 1090 to KBZT-FM 94.9 but one thing that won’t be changing are the team’s announcers. The team says Ted Leitner and Jesse Agler will continue to call the action for the 2017 season.
- Popular sports writer Don Banks revealed that he’s left Sports Illustrated after sixteen and a half years with the popular magazine and website. He says the departure is due to salary cuts, and future news of his next adventure will be forthcoming on social media once he’s ready to announce it.
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.
Sports Radio News
Jay Williams Calls Listener, Forces Him To Pay Their $1000 Lakers Bet
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
If you owe Jay Williams money, he is going to find you. Just ask Rob, a listener in Orlando who bet the ESPN Radio morning man that the Lakers would advance to the NBA Finals.
Last week, Rob called Keyshawn, JWill and Max and bet Williams $1000 the Lakers would eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Williams said if that happened, he would pay Rob $1500.
Obviously, that is not the way things played out. On Tuesday morning, Jay Williams called Rob demanding payment.
“He owes me my money,” he said. “So you know what we do? We got Detective Pat on the call today. Pat, let’s give this man a call. See if this guy picks up, trying to run away from giving me my money.”
The show’s associate producer Patrick Costello called the number Rob left last week. On the first attempt, the listener did not pick up. Williams vowed to keep up the pressure on social media and national radio and television until he got paid.
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
“You know, getting that money is a wrap, Jay,” Keyshawn Johnson said through laughter. “I told you that.”
The show made one more attempt to connect with Rob before having to turn things over to Greeny. This time, the Lakers fan picked up and acknowledged that he had to pay. He offered to make a donation in Williams’s name.
“I’ll send you my bank account here privately, and then I will send it to the charity of my choice,” Williams agreed.
Rob agreed to the arrangement. Williams asked him if he wanted to apologize for doubting the basketball analyst’s prediction of the Lakers’ demise.
“Apologize? I need the Lakers to apologize to me after that performance,” Rob said. “Because Jesus Christ, that was horrible. That was bad.”
Sports Radio News
Stoney & Jansen on LeBron James Retirement Talk: ‘NBA Needs Offseason Stories’
“I think we pick and choose with him. I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
As the Los Angeles Lakers exited the court after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, a grim reality set in across the basketball world regarding the future of forward LeBron James. Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up, James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, a 19-time All Star selection, four-time MVP, and four-time NBA champion.
During his postgame media availability on Monday, he stated that he had to seriously think about his future, undoubtedly referencing retirement. James just completed his 20th season in the Association and continues to play at a high level, but is going to think about walking away from the game after falling short of the NBA Finals this year.
“He’s been a pretty good soldier for the game,” said Tom Milikan, morning show producer and assistant program director at 97.1 The Ticket. “There’s been some things I haven’t agreed with him [on] that he’s liked or tweeted or whatever. I think he’s had some ignorance, but I think that applies to every single athlete out there that’s great.”
Throughout his NBA career, James has been the subject of criticism. The ESPN special he participated in titled The Decision saw him reveal he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. He is also a frequent subject across the network’s programming, including on Get Up, First Take and NBA Today.
“I think we pick and choose with him,” Millikan said. “I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
Show co-host Mike Stone read messages from the 97.1 The Ticket text line during the show, many of which criticized James for being a “flopping” player desperate for any semblance of attention since he will not be in the NBA Finals. One text suggested his revelation of weighing retirement was done intentionally, surmising that he has a film documentary crew around him and coming back stronger than ever would make for a great story.
“The league needs some offseason stories,” Millikan said. “From what I know, the free agency class is not all that great this year – and one of the big names is Kyrie Irving, and that’s toxic. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, maybe they’re generating buzz or trying to do the whole Brady thing.’ So be it – I’ve seen it 15 times in my life.”
Stone recognized that athletes like James are genuinely once-in-a-generation type talents, and that his time in the NBA has been defined by more than what he has done on the court. James has also been an immense advocate for greater causes, including social issues, youth education and community affairs. Whenever he decides to call it a career though, fans should rest assured that James has truly given the game everything he has.
“I want to see the best that they have for as long as possible,” show co-host Jon Jansen said of star athletes. “If they end up playing too long, so be it. I don’t care. Then I know I’ve [seen] it all.”
Sports Radio News
Danny Parkins: NFL Teams ‘Don’t Really Care About Your In-Stadium Experience’
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it.”
On Monday at the NFL Owners’ Meetings, flex scheduling for Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football was approved 24-8. Games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17 with 28 days notice required. Additionally, a maximum of two games can be flexed per season, with the entire operation being on “a trial basis.”
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it,” said Danny Parkins on 670 The Score as the news broke Monday. “[The] first rule already happened, and the Bears are one of the teams that either benefit or are victimized by the rule depending on your interpretation. You can play on multiple Thursdays this year. You can’t play multiple road Thursdays, but the Bears have two Thursday night games – in Washington and home against Carolina.”
In an effort to broadcast compelling action on a national stage, the National Football League did not give all of its 32 teams at least one game on national television this season. Conversely, the New York Jets, complete with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be featured on national television for the maximum of six times, including two matchups on Thursday Night Football. The Jets, along with the Chicago Bears, dissented from voting in favor of flexible scheduling, but Parkins assumes it has nothing to do with the fans.
“My guess is [it is] because they already have two Thursday night games,” Parkins said. “Maybe they’re just altruistic and they care about fans and travel and all that, but I bet you that they said, ‘Well, we’re playing in Week 5 in Washington and Week 10 at home against Carolina. We don’t want to risk Bears-Browns or Bears-Falcons being flexed into Thursday Night Football later in the season and end up with three Thursday night games.’”
Many football fans and media professionals have pushed back on granting the property any type of flex scheduling because of the negative impact it has on injury prevention, something that is not as pronounced with other properties solely because of the day of the week. Sunday Night Football on NBC was previously the only property with flex scheduling ability, and Monday Night Football on ESPN is being granted that ability between Weeks 12 and 17 with at least 12 days notice.
“They don’t really care about your in-stadium experience – they don’t,” Parkins said of the league. “As long as you watch on TV, they’re thrilled because that’s where they make a huge, ungodly percentage of their money – more so than any of the other sports.”