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Under The Radar – March 13, 2017

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One of the busiest week’s yet for the UTR column. A total of 23 news items are included in this piece. If you have a future news tip, press release or promotion you’d like to share, you can reach me by email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to this week’s news.

Expect some news to trickle out this week from a few national sports radio networks. A couple of interesting developments that should generate some conversation inside sports radio circles. Stay tuned.

As I reported Friday on Twitter, former ESPN Dallas host Matt Mosley was brought in to host shows Friday and Saturday on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation. Sources say Mosley could be in play for a larger role with the network. Stay tuned for further details.

Bad news was delivered on Friday inside the offices of FOX Sports 640 in West Palm Beach. The radio station which broadcasts into the city of Miami and at one point featured Sid Rosenberg on its airwaves, terminated its only remaining local program, the morning show. As a result, Joe Raineri and his supporting staff were let go. With Alpha Media taking over control of the station, the plan is to feature national programming going forward. Raineri is looking for his next opportunity. To learn more about him you can visit his website by clicking here.

One move which hasn’t received any attention but has taken place in Los Angeles, Fred Roggin and Rodney Peete are now hosting middays together on AM 570 LA Sports. The previous program LA Today was hosted by Bill Reiter and Leeann Tweeden. Reiter left for CBS Sports‘ digital team in September, and Tweeden moved to KABC in February. Roggin and Peete have been having some fun with the audience, giving them an opportunity to help name their program.

Staying in California, congratulations to Erik Peterson, who has signed on with TMZ Sports as a Talent Coordinator. Peterson has previously served as a Producer for The Beast 980, FOX Sports Radio, Westwood One and ESPN Radio.

After reporting last week that WFAN and CBS Sports Radio anchors would assume more responsibility on WINS and WCBS, it appears that further adjustments are taking place on the CBS Sports Radio Network‘s overnight schedule. Anchor Peter Schwartz announced via Twitter that his overnight shift was coming to an end, but that he’d remain involved with the network on a part-time basis.

Elsewhere on the national stage, ESPN Radio anchor Steve Lenox has revealed that he’ll be contributing to ESPN’s college baseball coverage in 2017 on the SEC Network and ESPNU. Lenox officially got started on Friday, calling Florida A&M vs. Bethune Cookman alongside Jay Walker.

Getting caught up on some ratings data, Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City turned in a big January book. The station finished in the top 3 in middays and afternoons, and in the top 4 in morning drive. Overall the station finished 3rd M-SU 6a-Mid with a 6 share, with middays registering the top monthly performance. With baseball season just a few weeks away, local competitor 610 Sports should benefit from the return of the Royals. The team’s games are played on their airwaves, and help the brand deliver higher numbers. But play by play aside, WHB has to feel good about their standing right now.

KOA Newsradio 850AM and 94.1 FM in Denver has announced new multi-year contracts for Colorado Rockies radio broadcasters Jack Corrigan and Jerry Schemmel. Corrigan has been part of the play by play team for the past 14 years. Schemmel has been involved for the past seven.

Speaking of baseball, a tip of the cap to former St. Louis sports radio anchor Sara Dayley who has been added to the St. Louis Cardinals television team for the 2017 season. She joins a crew which includes Dan McLaughlin on play by play, and Al Hrabosky, Tim McCarver, Ricky Horton, and Jim Edmonds as analysts. Dayley will contribute as a reporter and host to Cardinals Live, the team’s pre and post-game show, along with Jim Hayes and Scott Warman. Former Cardinals Rick Ankiel and Brad Thompson (101 ESPN afternoon show host) will also contribute as studio analysts.

Congratulations to Kyle Bailey who’s signed on with WFNZ in Charlotte. Bailey previously worked as a host for Kirkman Broadcasting’s 98.5 The Zone and ESPN Charleston, and prior to that he spent time hosting in Blacksburg, VA for Super Sports 101.7 and 105.3 The Bear. Bailey had recently been filling in on the Charlotte sports talker, and will now join the station on a permanent basis as a host and executive producer.

North of border in Toronto, the Toronto Sports Media blog has learned that 590 The Fan is adding Ben Ennis to the midday show alongside Andrew Walker.

In Houston, Alex Del Barrio of Sports Radio 610 has confirmed that he’ll be joining the Houston Dynamo radio team alongside Jeremy Branham. The Dynamo play their games on 610.

A little further to the west in Austin, 104.9 The Horn has added Ashley Kamrath to help oversee the radio station’s digital efforts.

105.7 The Fan in Milwaukee is bringing back Seth Everett as a baseball season contributor. Everett will provide a weekly check in every Wednesday at 12:05pm CT with The Fan’s midday host Bill Michaels. Michaels’ program not only airs on The Fan, but it’s also distributed on affiliate stations throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Alpha Media’s ESPN Myrtle Beach 1450AM has added an FM simulcast on 105.5 FM. Both frequencies will continue airing the entire ESPN Radio lineup.

ESPN 94.9 The Game 2 has signed on to carry Cincinnati Reds baseball. The station will air over 130 regular season Reds baseball games in the Nashville market.

A change is taking place in Decatur, Illinois. Aric Lee has confirmed that is program is moving from 1050 ESPN to 1340 WSOY. Lee will be heard weekday afternoons from 3p-5p CT starting on 3/13.

Bobby Corser has left his position as executive producer at Rip City Radio in Portland. Corser is looking for his next opportunity and can be reached by email by clicking here.

The Frozen Four will have a new voice contributing to its broadcast coverage. Colby Cohen has been summoned to call the action this year for Westwood One. The hockey tournament officially begins in early April.

Congratulations to Nate Lundy and Shawn Drotar‘s 5280 Sports Network. They’ve added J.J. Jerez to serve as the site’s Colorado Avalanche reporter.

Nashville’s On Demand Sports Talk Show “A To Z Sports“, hosted by former 94.9 The Game 2 hosts Austin Stanley and Zach Bingham, have added Mark Harris to report on the Nashville Predators.

Deb Antonelli will call men’s NCAA Tournament basketball games later this month on CBS, making her the first woman to do so in over two decades. Antonelli has called men’s and women’s hoops since the early 1990s, but this will be her first time broadcasting “March Madness.” She’ll work alongside Carter Blackburn and Mike Gminski.

And last but not least, congrats are in order for Josh Santry, who is leaving IF Management after 11 years, to join CAA Sports. Santry will remain based in New York City while working for CAA.

Sports Radio News

49ers-Cowboys Wild Card Game Draws Over 41 Million Viewers For CBS, Nickelodeon

The main CBS broadcast and alternate telecast on Nickelodeon combined to average 41.496 million viewers.

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Sunday’s NFL Wild Card playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys was bound to attract a large audience.

The game featured a classic matchup between two of the league’s most accomplished teams. The Cowboys are always a big television draw. Add the 4:30 p.m. ET kickoff that appears to be most fans’ ideal viewing time and everything was in place for big ratings.

Sure enough, CBS was rewarded with huge numbers for Sunday’s telecast. According to the network, the 49ers-Cowboys game earned the highest viewership for an NFL Wild Card playoff game since 2015. (Dallas played the Detroit Lions in that context, televised on Fox.)

The main CBS broadcast and alternate telecast on Nickelodeon combined to average 41.496 million viewers. What became a close, thrilling game resulting in a 23-17 49ers victory attracted 50.229 million viewers at its conclusion.

That viewership is a 35 percent increase from the audience for the networks’ Wild Card game (a less appealing matchup between the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints). And for CBS, it was the network’s most-watched Wild Card playoff game in 10 years. (Pittsburgh-Denver averaged 42.371 viewers in 2012.)

The 49ers-Cowboys broadcast also drew big numbers for ViacomCBS’s Paramount+ streaming service, notching the largest audience for a non-Super Bowl game.

NBC also drew an impressive for its Sunday night Wild Card playoff broadcast. The Steelers-Chiefs primetime matchup averaged 30.5 million viewers across the regular NBC telecast, in addition to the Telemundo, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms. NBC’s audience of 28.9 million viewers was the highest primetime TV audience since last year’s Super Bowl LV.

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Adam Schefter Still Yet To Finish ESPN Orientation

“All of a sudden, I get a text saying we need you on SportsCenter, Plaxico Burress just got arrested.”

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When Adam Schefter joined ESPN in August 2009, he was supposed to go into Bristol one day for his orientation. But then, NFL news happened which caused his orientation to be delayed and, well, it has never happened since.

Schefter talked about that experience on his podcast, The Adam Schefter Podcast, when he was interviewing the newest member of the ESPN team, college football senior writer Pete Thamel. Thamel was starting his orientation this week. However, since college football is in the early stages of its offseason, it is less likely that his orientation will be halted by major breaking news.

Here is what Schefter had to say about why he had to miss orientation:

“When I was doing orientation, the plan was to drive to Bristol and then Tuesday, August 20, at 9 AM, I was going to go through orientation. Monday morning, as I was driving up to Bristol from New York, Brett Favre took off from Mississippi to land in Minnesota to sign with the Vikings and I’m doing live hits.”

“The next day, when I was supposed to do my orientation at 9 AM, I showed up at the front door about 8:50 right above the café and all of a sudden, I get a text saying we need you on SportsCenter, Plaxico Burress just got arrested (pled guilty to weapons charge) … I said to the orientators, excuse me, I have to go do SportsCenter. 12.5, 13 years later, I still have not had my orientation at ESPN.”

As for Thamel, he is looking forward to a new challenge at ESPN after writing for established places such as The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Yahoo! Thamel is looking forward to being able to do more television and video with his reporting and has received help from other notable ESPN insiders:

I just think having a new forum to tell stories in a different vehicle and a different way and maybe do some video storytelling, maybe utilizing information in different ways other than Twitter. Mastering a new skill, quite frankly. I’ve been on television, video, but I think that becoming a part of what I do is going to be a really fun challenge.”

“I know enough of that space to know that it is not hard to be okay, but it is hard to be great. It’s going to take a lot of reps and a lot of coaching. Many people at ESPN volunteered to be my coaches on that stuff. Jeff Passan has been great giving advice. Woj has obviously been awesome in that space. There will be a learning curve and the difference here is there is no delete button for your mistake.”

So, what is Thamel looking to accomplish while at ESPN? He wants to help people enjoy college sports differently:

“I expect to help the viewers and the readers enjoy college sports in a different way through information and storytelling. I expect and hope to really utilize all the different arms of ESPN to help enhance people’s enjoyment of college football. I hope to channel the energy of my passion and use the power of ESPN’s reach to tell great stories, to give great information, and help make the games a little better, the characters a little bit more alive.”

This episode provides a good mix of the listener learning more about ESPN’s new college football senior writer and Schefter telling stories about his early days at ESPN, sharing a funny experience like missing his orientation. 

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Power Trip Wants To Know Why Marney Gellnar Kept NSMA Award Secret

“Gellner disclosed that she had known about the honor weeks prior to it being announced via a phone call she received.”

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The National Sports Media Association announced its yearly award winners at both the state and national levels Tuesday afternoon. KFAN’s The Power Trip spoke to one of their colleagues who serves as a field/sideline reporter for the MLB’s Minnesota Twins and NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves on Bally Sports North, and as the play-by-play voice for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. Gellner has been working professionally in sports media since 1996, and was just named Minnesota Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. In her normal Wednesday morning shift on KFAN, her colleagues congratulated her on the honor and turned it into on-air banter centered around technicalities and betting.

“We’re very happy for you, but we’re a little confused,” said on-air host Cory Cove, who has been with KFAN since 2002. “We’re all Minnesota broadcasters, so… we’re proud of you, but by default since you won ‘Minnesota Sports Broadcaster of the Year,’ then technically the five of us are losers because we should have been at least nominated or considered but we [got] our asses kicked by you.”

“I was thinking it, but I didn’t want to say it,” Gellner responded.

Gellner disclosed that she had known about the honor weeks prior to it being announced via a phone call she received. With the increasing prevalence of sports betting within the sports media landscape, the hosts of The Power Trip were disappointed in the fact that they were not afforded this insider information.

“You’ve been sitting on it for two weeks,” said Paul “Meatsauce” Lambert, co-host of The Power Trip. “Why didn’t you tell us so we could bet on it?”

Betting with inside information about the most likely outcome provoked Cove’s reminiscence of a previous bet he made with longtime KFAN host Mark Rosen about Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl LII Halftime Show performance in Minnesota.

While Rosen has never admitted it, Cove claims that he had inside information about the plans for the halftime show, most notably that Prince was going to be referenced by Timberlake. When the opportunity presented itself to make a bet on the late Minneapolis native being mentioned, he swiftly put down $100 on it.

“He knew Prince was going to be referenced at the Justin Timberlake halftime show here,” explained Cove. “He 1000% deserved to take my money because if you can’t stop the sucker within the first thirty minutes at the table, then you are the sucker. I walked right into the trap.”

While Gellner did not bet on herself winning the Minnesota Sports Broadcaster of the Year Award, she claimed to have received a million dollars in prize money on the air, something that caused Paul “Meatsauce” Lambert to worry about the “size of her head.”

“I would be,” replied Gellner. “Starting to look like ‘Sauce over here.”

The studio erupted with laughter after that punchline, with its meaning being interpreted more literally than figuratively. Nonetheless, Gellner’s Minnesota Sportscaster of the Year win marks the first of her career, putting her on a list with another prominent broadcaster and colleague.

“You know who has won the Minnesota Sports Broadcaster of the Year before? [Rosen.] 15 times, I think. He’s got $15 million because of it,” remarked Gellner.

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