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Under The Radar – June 6, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Catching up on some news items from the past week. Here’s a number of developments that you may not have been aware of. To have your individual or radio station’s news included in a future edition of Under The Radar please send along any pertinent information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now on to the news!

WEEI in Boston should gain a few extra ears on June 16th when the station utilizes Roger Clemens as a radio analyst for the Red Sox game against the Houston Astros. The game takes place in the city of Houston. Longtime Sox announcer Joe Castiglione will miss the 3-day Houston trip, and Clemens’ appearance is being billed as a one-day stint. No word on if other opportunities in broadcasting could be on the horizon for Clemens.

Former Boston Red Sox play by play announcer Don Orsillo will reunite with his former club for a day when he works the FS1 broadcast of the Sox-Astros game on Saturday June 17th. Orsillo will call the game with Eric Karros and Tom Verducci. In addition to national work, he serves as the lead voice of the San Diego Padres.

After previously announcing he’d reduce his broadcast schedule due to health problems, Fred Manfra was forced to adjust those plans and bring his tenure in the Baltimore Orioles radio booth to a close. The popular O’s voice worked his final series this past weekend. He is relocating to Tampa, Florida to be closer to family and says two knee replacement surgeries await. He’s previously undergone two hip surgeries and back surgery. Congrats to Fred on a storied run in the Orioles radio booth.

WFAN overnight producer Russell Mafes has announced that he’s exiting the New York sports radio station after spending the past decade working for them. His last day will be June 9th. Mafes says he has accepted an opportunity with the Nassau County Police Department and will be leaving the sports media business.

Speaking of WFAN, while the station celebrates 30-years of broadcasting excellence, and has featured some of the true heavyweights of sports talk radio, the true architect of its creation is Jeff Smulyan. The CEO of Emmis Communications made a special guest appearance last week on Mike Francesa‘s show and talked about the history of the brand, how the station was launched, and why he felt sports talk as a format could work in the big apple. It was an interesting interview. To hear the conversation click here.

Staying in New York, congratulations to Steve Cohen, Steve Torre and their Mad Dog Radio morning show, The Morning Men, featuring Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik. The show held its special event, FALcon 2017 for its dedicated listeners this past Saturday at Rock and Reilly’s in New York City. The event was well attended and included on-site appearances by Ed Hendry of FOX News and Andrew Perloff of The Dan Patrick Show, the show’s update anchor Maria Marino,  plus a call-in from Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. To hear the show on demand click here.

The Oakland Raiders have found a broadcast home in Las Vegas. Despite being a few years away from relocating to the city, the team has announced their games will air in sin city on Beasley Media Group‘s local stations News-Talk KDWN and Country KCYE.

A job well done by the folks at 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. On Monday, the station was tipped off that something big was developing with the Ohio State basketball program. It was expected the school would announce head coach Thad Matta would be leaving after the season. Instead, the news became Matta leaving immediately, all of it captured in real-time by The Fan’s staff while other market brands were removed from local programming.

The Los Angeles Kings have named Alex Faust as their new television play-by-play announcer. Faust takes over for Bob Miller, who retired this past April after calling Kings games the past 44 years. He’ll join television color analyst Jim Fox on FOX Sports West starting with the 2017-18 season.

104.5 The Zone received some unexpected recognition during the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on NBC. During last Monday’s game, the catfish thrower was captured on television wearing a t-shirt of the station’s Midday 180 show. That act generated a ton of media attention, and the Midday 180 followed it up by creating a GoFundMe account to pay for the Catfish Thrower’s legal defense with all proceeds over his fine amount going directly to the Nashville Predators Foundation. Tennessee Titans All-Pro Taylor Lewan was one of the early contributors to the fund.

Cleveland and Detroit radio personality Matt Dery produced a podcast highlighting the top 10 NFL play by play announcers. Green Bay Packers announcer Wayne Larrivee was given top honors To hear the podcast click here.

Allen Smothers has signed on to host mornings for 100.3 The Team in South Carolina. The show can be heard throughout 13 counties in the Pee Dee and Grand Strand regions of the Palmetto State. For more information about the radio station click here.

The University of South Carolina Athletics and IMG have signed a multi-year deal with 107.5 The Game in Columbia, South Carolina which will keep the station in place as the official flagship station for Gamecock Sports.

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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