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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – May 1, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Although the cuts at ESPN dominated the sports media coverage last week, there were a few other stories that took place too which received less attention. A reminder, you can pass along news, tips, press releases and promotional items via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to this week’s developments.

ESPN Syracuse host Brent Axe conducted an excellent interview with former ESPN executive John Wildhack who now serves as Syracuse’s Athletic Director. Wildhack, who was part of the inner circle that made key business decisions on retaining the network’s play by play deals with the NFL, NBA and MLB, explained why those deals made sense, and addressed some of the differences between opinion and journalism and why FOX Sports 1 isn’t on the same level with the worldwide leader in sports. To hear the conversation, click here. The ESPN discussion occurs thirteen minutes into the interview.

Speaking of ESPN cuts, after being fed the grim news last week that his run with the network had come to an end, longtime NFL reporter Ed Werder is jumping right back into action. Werder has teamed with former ESPN Dallas radio host Matt Mosley to create The Doomsday Podcast. An episode is expected to launch on Monday with Werder addressing his departure from the company. To hear it click here.

A tip of the cap to Arizona Sports 98.7FM who received positive praise from their local audience for their NFL Draft coverage. The radio station featured afternoon hosts Dave Burns and John Gambadoro, morning man and former NFL player Ron Wolfley, and longtime ESPN College Football analyst Mark May who was recently part of the network’s cuts. Not only did Gambadoro break the news of who the Cardinals were selecting, but the blend of all four men on the broadcast resulted in numerous social media responses from listeners adding that they were enjoying the draft with the volume down so that they could enjoy hearing what the group were providing on the radio station.

WFAN is celebrating 30 years of sports broadcasting excellence. As part of it, the radio station has created a web page which features classic audio moments throughout the years, and poll questions built around memorable teams and athletes from the past three decades. The Fan has also announced a special 30-year Anniversary Show will take place on June 22nd live from Grand Central Station in New York City. One former personality who has confirmed he’ll appear at the event is WABC midday host, and former WFAN host Sid Rosenberg. For more information on The Fan’s anniversary click here.

Former Cleveland Browns GM Phil Savage, who was also part of ESPN’s cuts last week, yet remains involved hosting shows for SiriusXM NFL Radio and serving as Alabama football’s color analyst, has published a new book “4th and Goal Every Day.” Savage is making media appearances in support of the new book. To reach him click here.

92.9 The Game in Atlanta and evening host Mark Zinno have ended their relationship. No word yet on who will take over evenings for The Game, Zinno meanwhile is looking for his next opportunity. The talented host can be reached by email by clicking here.

Moving north to the nation’s capital, 106.7 The Fan will hold its 4th annual Fan Fest event this Saturday at the Nova Field House. The event is free to the public and runs from noon to 3pm ET. Included in the day’s festivities are a Nationals youth baseball clinic, PGA Golf instruction, and autograph sessions with current and former Redskins players Josh Norman, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien. The Fan’s on-air personalities will also be present. For more information click here.

Rogers Media has acquired Adult Standards CSIL 650 AM from the Newfoundland Capital Corporation. As part of the purchase, Rogers is expected to flip the radio station’s format to sports sometime this fall. Rogers landed the radio rights to the Vancouver Canucks this past March.

Congratulations is in order for Julie DiCaro of 670 The Score and ESPN Radio‘s Sarah Spain. The two Chicago based sports personalities earned a Peabody award in the public service category for their video which shined the light on harassment of women in sports. To see the video click here.

In addition to contributing to 106.7 The Fan on a part time basis, former ESPN 980 host Nick Ashooh has been hired by CSN Mid Atlantic to provide digital content to its platforms.

Staying in the digital space, some unfortunate news to share out of New York City. Jake Brown who had spent the past 3 years working for CBS Radio as its Digital Content Manager was laid off last week due to budget cuts. Brown’s show will continue on CBS’ Play.it but he’s looking for his next opportunity. To reach him by email click here.

Shifting gears to sports agency news. ICM Partners have signed ESPN host Jonathan Coachman and NFL Network host Erin Coscarelli. Coachman will be represented by Ted Chervin, Heather Karpas, Matt Sorger and Mark Zimmerman. Coscarelli will have Zimmerman, and Lou Oppenheim, Courtny Catzel, Will Horowitz, Justin Ianda, and Tyler Kroos handling her affairs.

The MLB Network added former Indians, Phillies and White Sox slugger Jim Thome as an analyst last week. Thome will contribute on a part-time basis. He also serves as a special assistant to White Sox GM Rick Hahn.

Stephen Cohen is leaving the Seattle Seahawks beat to focus on general news reporting at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Michael-Shawn Dugar will take over for Cohen.

After nine years at The Big Lead, Tyler Duffy has announced he’s leaving the website. Duffy recently served as the site’s Senior Writer.

Brian Dunshee has announced that he’s joining SB Nation’s On The Banks where he’ll contribute to the site’s coverage of Rutgers football.

Congratulations goes out to Kyle Crooks who was added as a new play by play broadcaster at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

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The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

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Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

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Sports Radio News

Greg Hill: Ben Watson, Peter Burns Drama Was A Bit

“Be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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Peter Burns and Ben Watson shared an awkward exchange during the halftime show of an SEC Network football game over the weekend, and many are still debating whether Watson walking off the set was serious or not. Count part of the cast of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI as doubters.

“That was a a bit,” Courtney Cox said. “That was absolutely a bit.”

“Yeah, unlike the Chris Rock/Will Smith thing, I assume that was a bit,” Hill said. “I can’t believe that Ben Watson is really angry about that.”

“I dunno, man. There’s been a lot of speculation that it isn’t,” Jermaine Wiggins added. “There are people who are very sensitive about you clowning on them or joking with them. Especially with joking about their wife. Some people can’t handle jokes like that.”

After a back-and-forth with Cox about the legitimacy of the joke, Wiggins concluded by saying for some folks family is off limits.

“I’ve learned something in my 47 years on this Earth: be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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