A couple of quick news items you may not be aware of from the sports media universe. Consider it a second shorter version of the Under The Radar column, right before the holidays. Here’s the latest.
- 17 years and 4 months. That’s how long Boers and Bernstein have occupied the airwaves on 670 The Score in Chicago. With holiday vacations coming up, and Terry Boers exiting the radio station in early January, the popular duo are wrapping up their final show together today. Who the station inserts into afternoons with Dan Bernstein in the future remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, Boers and Bernstein had one hell of a run. Congratulations to both men on their success over the past 208 months.
- With FOX Sports 1 looking to add a live morning show in 2017, the first test run will be given to Nick Wright and Cris Carter. The two men will work together December 26-30, filling in for Colin Cowherd on The Herd. FS1 boss Jamie Horowitz told Mike McCarthy of the Sporting News that he’d prefer the morning show originate from New York instead of Los Angeles. The new show is likely to air 6a-9:30a and Horowitz is hopeful it will rate well and serve as a strong lead in to Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, the same way Bayless and Sharpe’s show has helped increase viewers for Cowherd’s program.
- Speaking of FOX Sports 1, according to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, the network had strong interest in Bomani Jones who recently signed a new contract with ESPN. Deitsch says FS1 hoped to feature Jones on both radio and TV. He’ll now have an opportunity to increase his profile on the four letter network after the company announced it would develop additional projects for Jones in the future.
- Alpha Media in Portland continues to increase its Seattle influence. The company has announced that its sports station 750 The Game will become Portland’s home for Seattle Mariners baseball starting in 2017. Alpha OM Bruce Collins says “we are thrilled to be Portland’s home for Mariners baseball. The Seattle Mariners have a strong following in Portland, and the future of this organization is extremely bright.”
- In Houston, SportsTalk 790 is adjusting the hours of a few of its shows. Starting January 2nd, The Proper Gentlemen featuring Lance Zierlein and Matt Thomas will end an hour early and broadcast from 6a-9a. In The Trenches with Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu will shift from 10a-12p to 9a-11a. The Bottom Line with Adam Clanton and Sean Jones will move from 12p-3p to 11a-2p, and Josh Innes’ afternoon program slides from 3p-7p to 2p-6p.
- WGR in Buffalo came under fire after Bills general manager Doug Whaley appeared on the station’s morning show last week and during the course of a twenty minute interview wasn’t asked about Bills head coach Rex Ryan‘s future. Jeremy White and Sal Capaccio conducted the interview, and White acknowledged that although Whaley’s history of avoiding conversations of a similar nature gave him reason to believe that Whaley wouldn’t have added anything to the discussion, he probably should have asked so the audience wouldn’t feel he avoided the subject. The beauty of live radio, you live and learn something new each day.
UConn Basketball’s Mike Crispino Less Critical of Referees As Official Himself
“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this. Because I realize how hard it is.”
While basketball broadcasters may not have as contentious a relationship with referees as coaches, players, and fans, part of calling the action can involve criticizing a call. And with broadcasters typically positioned at courtside, there is certainly more opportunity for exchanges with officials than in football or hockey, for example.
But as David Borges writes in a feature for CT Insider, UConn men’s basketball play-by-play announcer Mike Crispino might go a bit easier on referees than his colleagues. And that’s because Crispino works as a referee himself when he’s not at the mic, officiating high school basketball and baseball games in Connecticut
Crispino has been a referee for 12 years and says it completely changed how he viewed officiating while calling play-by-play for the New York Knicks and UConn Huskies. Prior to donning the stripes, he would often question calls during a broadcast.
“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this,” Crispino told Borges. “Because I realize how hard it is. It’s not easy. You’re on-call all the time. You’ve got to have two hours of being sharp. You can’t get lazy, you can’t get distracted, you can’t listen to too many people barking about stuff. You have to be on it. Otherwise, you’re not doing the service that you’re getting paid to do.”
Despite having the perspective of a working referee, Crispino — who’s been broadcasting UConn men’s basketball for the past four years — still gets caught up in the moment and questions certain calls, sometimes with the officials standing right in front of him.
Unlike broadcasting, where young announcers are always trying to break into the industry, Crispino is concerned about the future of officiating. He says fewer people work as referees because of stories about angry parents and coaches.
Of course, Crispino has also experienced such exchanges from the other side with high school coaches disputing his calls as a referee. But he’s only issued one ejection during his officiating career, along with just a few technical fouls. Seeing referees work at the college and NBA levels as a broadcaster has helped him understand how to deal with such situations. That perspective has clearly been beneficial in both jobs.
Pat McAfee Irritated At Fans’ ‘Throw Rogan’ Nickname For Aaron Rodgers
“His haters got very loud.”
Many NFL fans, both casual and diehard, were ready with jeers and nicknames for Aaron Rodgers following the Green Bay Packers’ 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday’s NFL divisional playoff game.
As Pat McAfee pointed out on his show Monday, fans were eager to throw insults at Rodgers, waiting for the opportunity like a batter waiting for the ideal pitch to hit.
“People were sitting on ‘Throw Rogan,'” said McAfee, who naturally supported the person who appears on The Pat McAfee Show every week and made those conversations must-see viewing.
That particular nickname is a play on Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host whose advice Rodgers followed for batting COVID-19. As Rogan recommended, Rodgers took the drug Ivermectin, which is typically used to treat roundworms and other parasites.
McAfee cited last week’s ESPN.com feature on Rodgers by Kevin Van Valkenburg in which the reporter detailed the turn perception has taken toward the Packers QB this season and Rodgers’ strident belief in himself as a free thinker and intellectual.
Co-host A.J. Hawk agreed, adding another popular nickname posted to social media Saturday. “QAaron Rodgers” mocks the quarterback’s stated belief in conspiracy theories regarding the vaccine.
On the field, the Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC and considered in prime position to advance to the Super Bowl. Rodgers will likely win the NFL Most Valuable Player award (despite some voters feeling otherwise) for the second consecutive season after passing for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns (to just seven interceptions), while completing 68.9 percent of his throws and leading Green Bay to a 13-4 regular-season record.
But off the field, Rodgers gained national notoriety and became a controversial figure for his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Rodgers refused to get vaccinated, which put him at odds with many throughout the country. But what became the subject of national outrage and discussion was the quarterback giving the impression that he’d been vaccinated by saying he was “immunized” against the virus.
That turned many people against Rodgers for the past three months and those fans took delight from him losing in the playoffs. (The quarterback also lost some fans for trying to force a trade during the offseason and it’s possible Rodgers played his final game in Green Bay on Saturday.) And they flooded social media with nicknames.
“His haters got very loud,” said McAfee. “But I will say, I don’t think he has a lot of haters in general managers around the NFL on whether or not they can get him in the building.”
The trade rumors will begin gaining heat soon. Will fans tossing out derisive nicknames right now — especially those supporting the Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Saints, and Steelers — eventually embrace him as their quarterback? You know the answer to that.
Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI (Update)
“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”
Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.
Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.
In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.
In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.
On Monday, Jeff Rickard took to Twitter to update fans and followers on his situation. He did not have anything negative to say about WEEI, Audacy, or anyone involved with him coming to Boston. He even noted that this move is likely what is best for him and his family.
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