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Under The Radar – May 23, 2017

Jason Barrett

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The sports media news cycle continues to spin, and this week’s information includes a number of comings, goings, and new additions. To have your station, company or personal news shared in a future edition of UTR, please pass along all information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news.

After 16 years, Matt Abbatacola has left 670 The Score in Chicago. The Chicago sports radio veteran served as a producer, anchor and reporter, and enjoyed a long run as Boers and Bernstein’s executive producer. He turned in his resignation to pursue other opportunities according to Robert Feder’s website.

It’s good to see “The Big DogSteve Duemig back on the airwaves in Tampa at WDAE. After a three month absence from the airwaves and an intense battle with cancer, Duemig returned to his afternoon drive slot last Monday. He says he’s feeling good and is excited to be back. To hear his emotional opening monologue click here.

ESPN 99.3FM in Southwest Florida is adding to its afternoon show. Former WEEI host Pete Sheppard has been brought in to partner with Craig Shemon weekdays from 2p-6p ET. “Shemon and Sheppard” made their debut on the station on Monday afternoon. You can learn more information by visiting the station’s website 993ESPN.com

Former ESPN Cleveland 850 WKNR talk show host Mark “Munch” Bishop has resurfaced. Bishop has signed on to host afternoons for FOX Sports Radio 1350 in Akron, Ohio. In addition to being offered locally, Bishop’s program will receive regional syndication on The Sports Animal in Youngstown, and FOX Sports Radio 1340 in Mansfield.

Joe Raineri is back on the south Florida airwaves again. The former sports talk show host on Alpha Media’s FOX Sports Radio 640 has made a format switch. Raineri is now hosting mornings on Revolution Radio 93.5FM. The station bills itself as an electronic dance station.

A new midday show is launching in June on FOX Sports Knoxville. The station has confirmed that “Talk Sports” will debut June 19th and air weekdays from 10a-1p ET. The show will be hosted by Jon Reed and Boomer Dangel.

Coming up on Saturday June 3rd, Mad Dog Sports Radio‘s Morning Men featuring Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik will present their fan appreciation party, FALCon 2017. For information on how you can attend the event click here.

101 ESPN in St. Louis is hosting its 4th Annual Baseball Camp for Kids, which gives kids ages 6-13 a chance to learn the fundamentals of baseball from a few of its hosts, who just so happen to possess on the field credibility. The event takes place at GCS Ballpark on June 3rd! Former Cardinals and World Series Champions Chris Duncan (middays) and Brad Thompson (afternoon show), and former Miami University Baseball Player Kevin Wheeler (middays) will serve as primary instructors. For more information on the promotion click here.

Congratulations to Ryan Chell who has signed on with WFNZ in Charlotte as producer of Primetime with Chris Kroeger. Chell previously worked for SiriusXM in Washington D.C. before making the move.

Ryan Radtke is leaving his position as the University of Nevada Wolf Pack‘s play-by-play voice of football and men’s basketball in order to join Westwood One as a play-by-play announcer for college football, college basketball and other sporting events. Radtke spent nine years calling Wolf Pack games and also served as the voice of the Reno Aces minor league baseball team.

New agreements have been secured by Learfield Sports with two of its existing partners. The broadcast group has extended their partnership with Utah State University and the University of North Dakota.

Alpha Media has launched a brand new sports radio station in Peoria, Illinois. The Larry Wilson led company has introduced 95.9 The Sports Nut to local listeners. The station’s programming will be largely provided by FOX Sports Radio. A local show is being hosted by Scott Robbins from 4p-6p CT.

In Nashville, ESPN 94.9 The Game 2 has added a weekly Soccer show on Saturday mornings at 8am ET. The show, which has been created in conjunction with the Nashville Soccer Club, will feature Julian Council, hosting alongside different members of the club’s front office and coaching staff. To read the press release click here.

Paul Esden Jr. has been hired as a producer at 1260 The Score in Syracuse. Esden previously worked for ESPN Syracuse 97.7 and 100.1.

Speaking of producer hires, congratulations to Gavin Kinsel who’s been named Executive Producer of the NBA on TuneIn.

Gary Lawless has left the Winnipeg Free-Press and TSN in order to join the NHL’s new expansion franchise the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Lawless worked his final shift in Winnipeg on Friday and is in transition to the city of sin. You can read his introductory column to Golden Knights fans by clicking here.

Sports Radio News

Larry Bowa Warns Angelo Cataldi Fans Will Boo First Pitch If It’s Not a Strike

“Angelo Cataldi made Bowa promise to frame the ball so that whatever he throws looks like a strike to the crowd.”

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The Philadelphia Phillies are set to honor the career of Angelo Cataldi on July 24. The WIP morning legend will throw out the first pitch at Citizens Bank Park that afternoon. Former Phillies manager Larry Bowa will be behind the plate.

Bowa joined Cataldi on air Thursday morning to offer some advice. He told Cataldi that if the team asked him today, Bowa could still throw a strike from the mound. He was going to help Cataldi try to do the same.

He was concerned that Cataldi may not have any friends to practice with. After Cataldi assured the former manager that he had someone that was at least willing to pretend, Bowa gave him some tips.

“First of all, you start out at about 30, 35 feet while you preparing for this,” Larry Bowa said. “Make sure you throw every ball chest high. Throw a four-seam fastball. Do that three or four days then backup to 50, 55 feet. Do that a couple of days, and then finally you get on the mound.”

There was a word of warning for Angelo Cataldi. Larry Bowa said he once served as the catcher for a ceremonial first pitch from Mike Schmidt, widely regarded as one of the very best to ever put on a Phillies uniform.

Schmidt chose to throw from the mound and bounced it. Bowa doesn’t want Cataldi to make the same mistake.

“If you go to the mound and you don’t throw a strike, if you bounce it, I’m gonna tell you, you know this area better than anybody in the world. You will get booed off that mound,” he said. “So, if I were you, I would get right at the edge of the dirt there and throw a nice strike and everybody will give you a nice standing ovation and everything like that.”

Angelo Cataldi made Bowa promise to frame the ball so that whatever he throws looks like a strike to the crowd.

“I need you to get it to me on a fly, Ang,” Bowa responded.

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Sports Radio News

Dave Tepper Leaves Altitude Sports Radio To Become PD of News Radio KOA

“ The move represents a reunion for Tepper and GM Brenda Egger. She was the GM at Altitude that brought Tepper to the market in 2018.”

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There’s a big change taking place in Denver radio. Dave Tepper has left Altitude Sports Radio to become the new program director for Newsradio KOA. The position became available after iHeart Denver recently parted ways with programmers Greg Foster and Tim Spence.

The move represents a reunion for Tepper and GM Brenda Egger. Egger was the GM at Altitude that brought Tepper to the market in 2018. She left to take the reigns at iHeart in December 2020. Tepper will be responsible for all aspects of the on-air experience, including talent, content, programming, and online presence, as well as Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies broadcasts. He will report to JoJo Turnbeaugh, Region Senior Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Rockies Region.

“We are very excited Dave will be leading our incredible team at KOA,” said Turnbeaugh. “Dave’s track record, vision and leadership is exactly what we need as KOA continues to evolve as Colorado’s, News, Talk and Sports leader.”

Altitude Sports Radio went through a lineup revamp early on under Tepper before settling in the past few years. The station built its morning show around Vic Lombardi, Marc Moser, and Brett Kane, afternoons around Nate Kreckman and Andy Lindahl, and middays around Ryan Harris, Scott Hastings, and Josh Dover. The station also moved from 950 AM to 92.5 FM, and added an affiliation with VSiN.

At KOA, Tepper will work with both sports and news talk programming. He’s familiar with both formats having previously managed 1620 The Zone and News Talk 1290 KOIL in Omaha. Tepper also previously programmed ESPN 97.5 in Houston, and served as the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network Studio Coordinator and National Network Producer for Westwood One’s broadcasts of the College World Series. He has also worked on-air as a sports talk host in Houston and Austin, TX after starting behind the scenes at KLSX and KABC in Los Angeles.

“I’m thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to take the legendary KOA brands to new heights, including the game-changing chance to work with the Broncos, Rockies and Colorado Buffaloes radio networks,” said Tepper. “My proud journey that includes working with a variety of sports and talk formats, talents and sports radio networks has prepared me for this unique and once in a lifetime step.”

Altitude Sports Radio hasn’t announced a timeframe for when it expects to hire a new leader.

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Sports Radio News

Travis Demers Steps Away From Rip City Radio 620

Demers announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he will be leaving his post as co-host of Rip City Drive with Chad Doing to become a stay-at-home dad.

Jordan Bondurant

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Travis Demers

Portland Trail Blazers play-by-play announcer Travis Demers is going to be taking some time to enjoy being around his family.

Demers announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he will be leaving his post as co-host of Rip City Drive with Chad Doing to become a stay-at-home dad.

Demers clarified that he will still be calling Blazers games and be involved with the team’s radio production, but he’s going to take this opportunity to be more involved in the lives of his kids.

For now, Doing will fly solo hosting Rip City Drive. iHeartRadio Portland has not announced whether a replacement will be hired.

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