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Under The Radar – February 13, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Another busy week in sports media full of news and notes you likely missed. To be included in a future column, send your news, tip or press release to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s what’s happening.

Well wishes are granted to Amber Wilson of 790 The Ticket in Miami. The talented and energetic morning host announced she’ll be taking time away from the morning show, which includes Jonathan Zaslow and Brett Romberg, in order to battle breast cancer. Readers can send their support via Twitter by clicking here.

After 17 years, talented ESPN television producer and social media expert Jason Romano has decided to pursue a new calling. Romano, who has worked on numerous successful TV shows for ESPN, says he’s been nudged by the lord to help spread his message, and as a result, he’s going to start his own consulting business to help churches, athletes and other companies with their social and digital media. He also plans to host a new faith and sports podcast.

Another ESPN employee received some positive news recently. Anish Shroff has been named the network’s new Lacrosse play by play voice. Shroff replaces Eamon McAnaney who left last month to join SNY.

A well deserved congratulations is in order for Tony DiGiacomo who was recently promoted to the position of Program Director at Charlotte’s sports station WFNZ. DiGiacomo had been with the station for about 8 years, serving as an Executive Producer and Assistant Program Director before officially being given the PD title.

Also at WFNZ, midday host Nathan Conley has exited the building and is no longer with the company.

Another story out of Charlotte. Gerry Vaillancourt is returning to the local airwaves this week, hosting evenings on powerhouse news talker WBT. Vaillancourt previously hosted shows on the station earlier in his career but left the market when the Hornets elected to depart for New Orleans. At the time he was part of the team’s broadcast crew.

A tip of the cap to the crew at 1620 The Zone in Omaha. The radio station closed out the 4th quarter in strong fashion, finishing 3rd in both morning and middays. The station was also top 6 M-F 6a-7p and M-SU 6a-Mid, plus outranked local competitor ESPN 590 on the weekends, despite being at a disadvantage due to 590 carrying Nebraska Cornhuskers football. A great job by all involved.

In San Francisco, popular radio analyst Mike Krukow has announced he’ll reduce his schedule for the 2017 season. Former Giants Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez will earn some reps filling in.

After 31 years in broadcasting, former ESPN 980 Program Director and Navy Football Executive Producer Chuck Sapienza is tackling a new challenge. Sapienza announced that he’s joining the staff of Mount Saint Joseph High School as their marketing manager. He says he’ll also continue to blog for Breaking Burgundy.

After being a budget cut casualty at ESPN 980 last month, Nick Ashooh has landed on his feet. The Washington D.C. based personality is moving across town to join 106.7 The Fan.

On the network level, Seth Everett won’t be hosting on Sunday night’s any longer for NBC Sports Radio. He will remain involved on a fill-in basis. In the meantime, Everett has hosted on Baltimore news talker WBAL, and he’ll be sitting in for a few days on Sports Illustrated’s SI Now with Andrew Perloff.

An interesting development in Knoxville. Mickey Dearstone was let go from his position of Program Director and Host last week, but is still appearing on the station’s airwaves due to his involvement as the voice of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball. No word on why WNML chose to change direction.

Syracuse sports talk show host Mike Lindsley has added hosting duties on SB Nation Radio to his resume. Lindsley, who hosts weekdays from 3p-6p on The Score 1260, is hosting a new program called “The Saturday Tailgate“. The show airs every Saturday morning from 10a-12p ET.

While Lindsley’s addition may be positive, SB Nation Radio unfortunately had to part ties with a few of their staff members last week due to budgets. Lewis Woodard, and Will Palaszczuk, were among the on-air casualties. Each host is looking for their next opportunity.

Former NFL player and WDAE midday host Ian Beckles has signed on with Radio Influence to create a new weekly podcast.

In Portland, 750 The Game has added Devon Pouncey to its staff. Pouncey is originally from the Bay Area.

As one door closes, another one opens. Seth Stokes has left “The Swain Event” in order to join 106.3 WORD as a news reporter and digital content creator. With Stokes departing, Daniel Lewis has been named his replacement alongside Jayson Swain.

On the satellite radio airwaves, Robert Brender made his debut this past Saturday, hosting alongside former MLB manager Kevin Kennedy. The duo hosted the 4p-7p ET shift. No word yet on if it was a one-time test run or a program which SiriusXM will add to its weekend schedule.

TribLive Radio in Pittsburgh has reached a deal with Jordan Hall to cover NCAA and NFL football this fall.

The news isn’t as positive at CSN Philadelphia. The TV station has chosen to cancel their morning show “Breakfast on Broad“. Personalities involved with the show are expected to contribute to the TV station’s other local programs.

The post-Mike Goldberg era is beginning for the UFC. The company’s next pay per view will feature Jon Anik handling play-by-play alongside Joe Rogan. Dana White previously said he had a dream team of broadcasters in mind. Although this pairing should be very good, it doesn’t seem to be the out of the box combination White had been hinting at.

Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named New Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter

Vanessa Richardson, co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, announced that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

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Vanessa Richardson

The Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season and it’s a familiar name in Houston sports talk radio.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, announced that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted the extra news that Richardson would be leaving the show to pursue the Rockets gig full-time. It appears that Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show.

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason: Michael Kay ‘Swooping In’ On Stephen Nelson ‘Just Not Right’

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

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Boomer Esiason

Much has been made about the potential of New York Yankees television play-by-play announcer Michael Kay announcing Friday Night Baseball on AppleTV+ while slugger Aaron Judge chases the franchise and American League record for home runs in a single season. During Boomer & Gio Friday morning, Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti disagreed on whether Kay should have taken the gig from usual AppleTV+ announcer Stephen Nelson.

During a remote broadcast, they asked fans in attendance if they wanted to see Kay in the booth Friday night, which resulted in a resounding no.

“I bet he put that out there to see what the reaction would be,” Giannotti said of Kay’s comments that he would be “big-footing” Nelson by taking the assignment. “And the reaction was like that, and was like ‘You know, I’m kinda uncomfortable doing this. Maybe I shouldn’t do it’. And no one wanted to see it anyway.”

“They shouldn’t do it,” said Esiason of AppleTV+ allowing Kay to step in for Nelson.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, and let’s say it was Pete Alonso chasing this record and there was AppleTV for potentially 61 or 62, you’re telling me that you’d want a fella named (Stephen) Nelson over Gary Cohen? There’s no way in hell!”, Giannotti countered.

“I want what’s right,” Esiason said.

“AppleTV’s not right to begin with,” Giannotti replied.

“But Michael Kay swooping in on some kid named Nelson, that’s not right. That’s just not right. You just can’t do that!”, argued Esiason.

“Yeah, but the fact that it’s on AppleTV to begin with is annoying,” Giannotti concluded. “It’s just annoying.”

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