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Under The Radar – July 17, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Is there ever a week where the sports media industry isn’t busy? I keep waiting for one of these periods to emerge where the activity isn’t strong enough to produce a full column yet even on slow weeks, but there’s always something.

Although I’m sure you know the drill by now, I have to be a broken record because new people are also finding the column. If you’d like to have your personal or company news shared with the sports media industry in this article, please pass it along via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now here are this week’s stories.

Many have inquired about the status of the BSM Podcast. After producing 14 episodes, enough to complete a first full season, a short break was necessary. BSM is happy to report that a new episode will be coming out in the next few days. The first installment of Season 2 is a good one. It features an in-depth conversation with Houston and New Orleans sports radio host Josh Innes. To listen to past episodes click here.

The New York Daily News reported something pretty interested this past weekend. According to Bob Raissman, Clay Travis was offered his own show on FOX Sports 1 by former executive Jamie Horowitz. Except there was one condition – Travis could not discuss politics on television, radio or social media. By taking the job Travis would’ve further elevated his profile and made a ton of money but he declined the offer, choosing instead to stay true to his principles. To read the full article click here.

Although Travis may not be adding a heavy presence on FS1‘s airwaves, the network is scouting others who they feel can enhance their on-air programming. According to Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News, FS1 recently brought in “Today” correspondent and anchor Jenna Wolfe for an audition for their upcoming morning show First Things First which features Nick Wright and Cris Carter. The audition reportedly went well, leading the network to open up discussions with Wolfe and her representatives.

Congratulations is in store for Ryan Ruocco. The ESPN and YES Network play by play announcer and former 98.7FM ESPN NY radio host began hosting a podcast for The Players Tribune with New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia. The debut episode features a special appearance by Derek Jeter, and it has quickly shot up the iTunes charts. To take a listen click here.

Meanwhile, one of Ruocco’s former on-air partners, Robin Lundberg, is also in the news. The former ESPN Radio and 98.7FM ESPN New York host stepped in this past Saturday for a few hours on the airwaves of WFAN. Rumors have been circulating about Lundberg being on The Fan’s radar to host a lead-in show to Boomer and Carton, but nothing official has been announced just yet.

Another talented radio personality is diving head first into the podcasting space. Former Houston radio host and current NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein has launched his Off The Script podcast. Zierlein teased an upcoming episode featuring himself and former Astros Lance Berkman and Lance McCullers. He also spoke recently to CultureMap about his decision to leave radio. You can read the interview by clicking here.

A role change could be on the horizon for St. Louis sports radio host and executive Tim McKernan. The 590 The Fan KFNS morning man struck a deal last year with station owner Randy Markel to oversee operations as President and CEO, with the idea being to eventually assume ownership once Markel recouped his investment. However, Markel has been more involved than expected. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Markel has started talks with McKernan about restructuring his deal and eliminating his ownership stake and CEO and President duties.

Checkpoint Radio continues to gain momentum. The esports show which is hosted by Nate Bender, Robbie Landis, Norris Howard and Joe Sloan has added 101 ESPN in St. Louis and 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia as affiliates. For more information on the show click here.

Unfortunate news out of Boston. Christian Arcand announced on social media that he was laid off by Boston Herald Radio. Arcand is however still hosting WEEI Late Night on the Boston sports radio station.

The news is similar in San Francisco for on-air personality Zakariah. The evening and Athletics Pre/Post game host has been let go by 95.7 The Game. To reach him and discuss future opportunities click here.

Surprising news out of Texas. Rod Babers, who had co-hosted The Sports Buffet on Ticket 760 in San Antonio and AM 1300 The Zone in Austin is no longer active on each stations. Babers and Craig Way had formed a strong team in afternoons but Way left in January to join Austin sports station 104.9 The Horn. With Babers gone, The Ticket afternoon show is being hosted by Chris Duel. AM 1300 has begun airing The Doug Gottlieb Show from FOX Sports Radio.

In Salt Lake City, ESPN 700 (KALL-AM) and the University of Utah and its media rights holder Learfield Utes Sports have extended their broadcast agreement through the 2021-2022 season. The radio station has served as the University’s radio partner for an impressive sixty six years.

The University of Alabama has struck a new deal with Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa. The new agreement is a seven year extension for games to continue airing on Tide 102.9, gospel station Praise 93.3, and country stations 95.3 The Bear and Catfish 1230AM and 100.1FM.

Another play by play agreement has been extended in Bloomington, Illinois. Cumulus Media has signed a new five year deal with Illinois State Athletics and Learfield Redbird Sports Properties. The agreement calls for AM 1230 and 93.7 NASH to continue serving as the flagship stations for Redbird football and men’s basketball.

SportsRadio 850 in Norfolk has expanded its morning show from one hour to two starting Monday July 17th. As a result, Nick Bailey gains an extra sixty minutes to inform and entertain local fans.

Former CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason, who contributes as an analyst for the Horse Racing Radio Network, recently wrote a series on how to break into the horse racing industry. Some of the suggestions he passed along can also transfer to the broadcasting business. To read his latest piece, the fourth part of a five part series, click here.

Sticking with horse racing broadcasting news, the New York Racing Association has added a four-time All-Star to their lineup. Former major league catcher Paul Lo Duca has agreed to become part of the “Saratoga Live” crew. The analytical show runs daily during the 40-day meet for two or two-and-a-half hours and is available on the MSG+ network. Lo Duca will work with Greg Wolf, Andy Serling, Maggie Wolfendale, Tom Amoss and Gabby Gaudet. He’s also expected to contribute on select NYRA broadcasts this the fall when racing returns to Belmont Park.

Congratulations to Dov Kramer of WFAN. The radio station’s executive producer recently celebrated his 30-year anniversary with the radio station.

Washington D.C. radio host Nick Ashooh has launched a website which features audio, video and written pieces. To learn more about it click here.

Many in the sports media business remain curious about the long term prospects of The Athletic. The new digital brand which is reliant on subscriptions has been stacking their talent pool by adding established writers. Stewart Mandel, formerly of FOX Sports and Sports Illustrated, previously announced he’d signed on to write for the website. Now this week, San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami has revealed he too would be joining the platform. Seth Davis, formerly of Sports Illustrated, is also expected to write for the site. For more details click here.

According to The Big Lead, after a company sale and losing its biggest sports asset Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports appears to be ready to add new blood to its sports department. TBL says Pete Thamel is leaving Sports Illustrated to join Yahoo. Thamel covered college football for SI and also worked previously for the New York Times.

Also in the print world, Brian Christopherson has announced that he’s leaving the Lincoln Journal Star after 13 years. Ten of those years involved covering Huskers football. Christopher says he will remain involved covering the Huskers except he’ll be doing so now for 247Sports and Scout Media.

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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