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Under The Radar – January 16, 2017

Jason Barrett

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A number of news items you may not be aware of from the world of sports media. As usual, if you have a tip to share or a press release to pass along, send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s this week’s news.

John Cassio has been hired by SiriusXM as the new program director of College Sports Nation. Cassio fills the vacancy left behind by TJ Cuttini. Prior to accepting the offer to join SiriusXM, Cassio was the program director for Fox Sports 97.3 The Fan in Fort Meyers, FL.

In Boston, WEEI.com has added Alex Reimer as a full-time contributor. Reimer will also continue making on-air contributions to Kirk and Callahan‘s morning show on WEEI.

Here’s a very cool idea that Atlanta sports radio personality Mark Zinno has developed. The evening host on 92.9 The Game has announced he’s launching the Hazard Ground Podcast, a program which will include conversations with military members and their stories of survival, combat, and beyond. To check it out click here. The first episode drops on Tuesday.

Congratulations to Owen Lademann who been named the new producer of Ken Carman and Anthony Lima‘s morning show on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland. Lademann had previously produced Nick Wilson‘s evening show on the station. He fills the vacancy left behind by Landry Locker who left for Houston to produce MaD Radio on Sports Radio 610.

Look for former 97.5 The Fanatic host Jon Marks to resurface soon on the airwaves in Philadelphia. Marks’ non-compete is expected to expire soon. While it’s unclear which station he will be heard on, local sources say to expect him to join WIP. Stay tuned.

After winning a world series, the Chicago Cubs are satisfied sticking with what’s worked on their television broadcasts. The team has signed TV broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim DeShaies to contract extensions through the 2019 season.

Speaking of contracts, Ben Maller has inked a new deal to remain on the airwaves of FOX Sports Radio. Premiere Radio Networks, which operates FSR, has been very pleased with Maller’s performance and growth.

One additional contract extension comes from the CBS Sports Radio Network. Amy Lawrence has agreed to terms to continue patrolling the network’s airwaves overnight. The network has signed her to a multi-year deal.

Congratulations is in order for Cliff Saunders who has been retained for a 5th season on Houston Astros pre and postgame shows. Astros radio broadcasts are carried on NewsRadio 740 KTRH in Houston.

Matt Pauley is adding to his workload by adding anchor work at SB Nation Radio. Pauley also works for 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee as the station’s pre and postgame host for Milwaukee Brewers baseball.

A second sports station has been introduced in Eugene, Oregon. Steve Woodward has launched FOX Sports Eugene, which includes FSR programming, play by play from the Portland Trail Blazers and San Francisco 49ers, and local reports. The station is broadcasting on KORE 1050AM, which previously aired Christian programming for over four decades.

Meanwhile in San Antonio, Cox Radio has decided to exit the sports format. The company has flipped CBS Sports Radio 860 to the oldies format.

Alex Womer has been named Sports Blitz anchor on FOX Sports 1330 and Assistant Production Director of Connoisseur Media‘s six radio stations in Eerie, PA. Womer had worked for the company in a variety of roles before being elevated to full-time status.

In the TV world, ESPN is losing one of its play by play announcers. Eamon McAnaney is leaving the network for a full time anchor role with SNY.

ESPN high profile personality Stephen A. Smith is one of seven honorees who will be inducted into the 2016-2017 John B. McLendon Jr. Hall of Fame. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association will hold its ceremony for the honorees on February 24th.

The WWE has hired Vic Travagliante as an on-air announcer. He will go by the name of Vic Joseph on the air. He’s recently served as the voice of the wrestling promotion House of Hardcore, and previously spent time working for the Cleveland Browns Network and CBS Cleveland.

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Rob Dibble, 97.9 ESPN Help Collect Nearly 5,000 Turkeys

“This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”

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97.9 ESPN Hartford host Rob Dibble helped collect more than 5,000 frozen turkeys and over 8m000 pounds of non-perishable foood items last week.

The station, along with other iHeart Connecticut stations, also raised more than $189,000 during the 23rd annual Turkey Tuesday at Connecticut Foodshare’s headquarters.

“We are continually grateful of the outpouring of donations from our listeners and Connecticut community on our annual events to ensure a Thanksgiving for all,” said iHeartMedia Hartford and New Haven Vice President of Marketing Vanessa Wojtusiak. “This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”

Dibble has been a longtime support of Connecticut Foodshare, hosting its director Al Marino on his show several times throughout the year to ensure families in Connecticut have access to the food bank.

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Ray Didinger Subject of NFL Films Feature, Tells Angelo Cataldi He’s Stayed Busy in Retirement

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Former 94WIP host and Philadelphia Daily News and NBC Sports Philadelphia writer Ray Didinger retired earlier this year, but he told Angelo Cataldi he’s remained busy even though he stepped away from his media career.

“It’s been busier than I thought,” Didinger said. “Just because of the way things have gone in the city. The Phillies going to the World Series, the Eagles are 10-1, I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be this kind of run. Consequently, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I had no idea everyone in the world has a podcast so I’ve been getting all those calls. My name and my phone number are on way too many rolodexes all around the country. When somebody says ‘Hey, let’s do a piece about Philly’, my phone rings. It’s been busy but it’s been good. It’s been great to see what this has meant to the city.”

Didinger hosted shows from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays for 94WIP. In total, he spent more than 50 years covering the NFL before retiring in May.

After Cataldi asked for Didinger’s opinion on the 2022 Eagles, he asked the now-retired reporter if he was still using his yellow notepad. Didinger admitted he does still use the notepad, and Cataldi chastised his former colleague after he said he would retire the notepad. Cataldi joked when he retires after the Eagles season concludes, he hopes to lose co-hosts Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes’ phone numbers.

Didinger will be the subject of an NFL Films feature about his longtime career covering the league. The program will air on FS1 on Friday at 12:30 AM.

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Colin Dunlap: ‘Insane’ What Tom Rinaldi Has Done During Last Week

“He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”

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Tom Rinaldi

It was a banner week for FOX Sports during the Thanksgiving holiday, and no one got more work than the network’s Tom Rinaldi. 93.7 The Fan morning show host Colin Dunlap believes Rinaldi deserves props for his schedule.

“It’s insane what he’s done,” Dunlap said. “I wrote it down and I saw somebody tweet it. Listen to this schedule — and I don’t even know if it’s worth it — but listen to what Tom Rinaldi has done: Wednesday? Qatar. Thursday? Dallas for the Cowboys game. Friday? Back to the US-England match in Qatar. Saturday? In Columbus, Ohio for Michigan/Ohio State. Sunday? Kansas City for the NFL game.

“And then if you’ve gotta guess, he’s gonna be at the American game tomorrow so he’s travelling back to Qatar today. I don’t even travel back and forth to Baltimore like that. He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”

Dunlap, co-host Chris Mack, and producer Adam Crowley then discussed whether FOX Sports was using Rinaldi enough. While noting that he’s travelling to all these locations, they believe he isn’t being utilized enough for the bigger stories he’s been known for.

They also joked about whether Rinaldi was flying back and forth on Rupert Murdoch’s private jet and whether or not that would make life easier.

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