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Bill King Gets His Long Awaited Call To Cooperstown

Jason Barrett

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Holy Toledo! Bill King has been called to Cooperstown.

One of the most prominent sports announcers in Bay Area sports history has been named the winner of the 2017 Ford C. Frick Award after finishing as a finalist for the honor seven times. King passed away in 2005, after spending more than four decades calling the action for many of the Bay Area’s sports teams.

During his career, King served as the voice of the Oakland Athletics for 25 years, the longest tenure of any A’s announcer since the team’s games were first broadcast in Philadelphia in 1938. He was the club’s radio announcer from 1981 to 2005, and called the team’s World Series victory over their crosstown rivals, the San Francisco Giants in 1989, Rickey Henderson’s record-breaking stolen base in 1991, and Scott Hatteberg’s pinch-hit walk-off homerun in 2002, which helped the A’s extend their league-record winning streak to 20 games.

Ironically, it was the Giants who gave King his Bay Area play by play start. He was part of their original broadcasting team, working alongside Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons.

After working for the Giants, King joined the Golden State Warriors as their play by play announcer when the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1962. He announced Warrior games until 1983, including the team’s first NBA Championship on the West Coast in 1974-1975.

If holding two high profile jobs for over two decades wasn’t enough, King also had a historic run as the voice of the Oakland Raiders. He became the team’s play by play voice in 1966, working for the franchise through the 1992 season. He even commuted to Los Angeles from 1982-1984 when the Raiders relocated to Southern California. During his time working for Al Davis, he called all three Raiders Super Bowl victories.

King’s stepdaughter, Kathleen Lowenthal told the San Francisco Chronicle that she got the call Wednesday morning from Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson.

“When he called, I was like a little kid, and crying,” she said. “I had no idea I’d cry. Then Ken Korach called me, and he was crying. I just wish Bill were here. He never thought this would happen. He didn’t seek it. That was never a motivation. It’s his time, and I’m thrilled.”

King was behind the microphone to call the famous Oakland Raiders “Holy Roller” touchdown against San Diego in 1978. It’s one of the most memorable play by play calls in sports history.

One person who’s been a strong advocate for King’s entry into Cooperstown has been current A’s radio play by play announcer Ken Korach. His 2013 book Holy Toledo – Lessons from Bill King: Renaissance Man of the Mic drew additional attention to King’s stellar work, and earned high praise from other members of the sports media.

When Korach learned that King had finally earned the call to the Hall he said “It’s just incredible. A lot of tears, to be honest with you. It’s so heartwarming. I’ve heard from broadcasters, writers. It’s really emotional. This is going to be such a wonderful celebration for A’s fans and that’s the definition of a Hall of Famer — someone who had that kind of impact on so many people. Bill King was a one-in-a-million person.”

Current Raiders play by play announcer Greg Papa, who has served as the voice of the Silver and Black for the past 21 seasons, has said of King, “He is without a doubt the best radio play-by-play announcer in all of sports. His energy, preparation, his thoroughness, his word choice—he is without peer.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame issued a press release on King’s pending honor, adding, “Bill King’s enthusiasm for every game he called carried through the airwaves and into the hearts of fans throughout Northern California for 25 incredible years with the Oakland Athletics. From his distinctive word choices in describing the action to his unabashed love of Oakland and the Bay Area, King crafted a career that became synonymous with the action at the Oakland Coliseum and throughout the sports world.”

Sports Radio News

1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

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In another cut from Audacy, 1140 The Bet has cancelled The Playmakers on their Las Vegas station.

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Brown tweeted the news, saying “Sadly I have been informed that yesterday was our final show. I am thankful for the people it brought into my life & the experiences we created I am incredibly proud of our work & the boundaries we are eager to push in sportz radio. Today is a tough day. Tomorrow is on the way.”

Hernandez followed up by tweeting “I can’t put into words right now how I feel right now but in my radio journey from College in Tampa to Phoenix and now Las Vegas you were the best teammate I’ve ever had in radio and more importantly a great person. I appreciate and will miss you Badass Brown.”

According to the station’s website, it will replace The Playmakers with You Better You Bet from the BetQL Network.

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Sports Radio News

1250-AM The Fan in Milwaukee Reportedly Cancels Local Programming

The station is streaming CBS Sports and has removed the local daily lineup from the 1250 AM The Fan website.

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1250 AM The Fan

Stunning sports radio news out of Milwaukee. 1250-AM The Fan has suddenly removed all of its local programming and switched over to CBS Sports Radio.

The news came as a shock to local listeners but even more surprising to the station’s staff. Here’s a tweet from Evan Heffelfinger noting that today was “everyone’s” last day at the station.

The station’s stream is currently airing CBS Sports Radio. The local daily lineup has also been removed from the 1250 The Fan website although show podcasts still remain.

In regards to the station’s talent, most have been quiet since the news began to trickle out. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that recent NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler was part of the cuts. Bart Winkler, Tim Allen, and Gary Ellerson are expected to be out as well.

One host who may remain involved is Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer. Fifer was part of the midday show, and also helped behind the scenes. According to sources, he’s likely to contribute off-air and with additional brand projects. The rest will have an opportunity to explore opportunities should any become available at 97.3 The Game, ESPN 94.1, WTMJ or any other local outlets.

Upon learning of the news, a few former 1250 hosts, Mike Wickett and Cliff Saunders, took to social media to share their sadness.

Ryan Maguire, who served as the PD of 1250 The Fan from 2006-2009, and is currently the PD of crosstown rivals ESPN Milwaukee and WTMJ, provided his perspective.

One host who left before the station was dismantled was former afternoon man Ramie Makhlouf. The longtime Milwaukee voice exited in June to join Sactown Sports 1140.

This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we’ll pass it along. 1250-AM The Fan is owned by Audacy, which just announced plans to reduce 5% of its programming staff.

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Sports Radio News

Fred Toucher: Fred Roggin Rant ‘Is Why Everyone Thinks Radio Sucks’

“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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A recent piece in the L.A. Times painting the picture of why the sports radio audience in Los Angeles is smaller than that of Boston struck a nerve locally.

And when AM 570 LA Sports host Fred Roggin tried to explain why Boston does so much better with listeners, Fred Toucher couldn’t contain himself.

Let me give it to you in a nutshell real, real quickly,” Roggin said in a clip that played during Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday. “The implication here is that you don’t care. Do they have as many Latinos living in Boston? I don’t think so, and if you look at the ratings, they don’t. We’re a melting pot, we’re very different here. Sports is a niche audience.

Toucher and company laughed at the sound byte before Toucher laid into Roggin.

“Does that mean that Latinos don’t like sports?” he asked. “To do well in Los Angeles, you have to adapt to the market, you jackass! Latinos have to listen to ya.”

Roggin and co-host Rodney Peete sounded even more out of touch in the clip by saying that part of the reason more people listen to sports talk in Boston is because of weather and an affinity for baked beans. Additionally, there’s just more to do in LA versus Boston.

“He is under the impression that the east coast is really something else,” Toucher said. “But he’s painting the east coast as if like no one lives out here. Like New York City and Philadelphia are these minor flyover states. It’s really funny.”

Toucher understood Roggin taking the time to go on the defensive, but he just couldn’t get over the way in which the defense was presented.

“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said. “What do you care if the station in Boston does better than you? What does it matter to you?! Clean up your own business! Jesus Christ!”

“This is the first time I think I’ve ever heard the northeast described as like toothless hicks that like got nothing better to do,” Toucher added.

Toucher finished his point by piling on the hosts further, saying that if their show aired anywhere else, it would fail.

“This is why everyone thinks radio sucks,” Toucher said before the rest of the Roggin clip was played.

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