Sports Radio News
Under The Radar – August 7, 2017
With football season just around the corner, sports media brands are in recruitment mode, adding talented individuals who they hope will create an impact this fall for their respective organizations. As a result, there’s a little more activity than usual to report this week. A reminder, if you or your company have news to share in the future, and would like to have it featured in this column, please send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.
Now on to the latest developments!
A number of sports media giants will be recognized for the contributions they’ve made throughout their illustrious careers. Chris Berman, Brent Musburger and Bill Raftery top the list of inductees entering the 2017 Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The event takes place place December 12th at the New York Hilton Hotel. To purchase tickets for the event click here.
Westwood One has set its broadcast teams for the upcoming NFL season. Hall of Fame defensive end Jason Taylor works the Sunday night game with play by play man Kevin Kugler. Taylor worked Sunday afternoon games last season. The Monday night booth stays the same with Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason calling the action. Kurt Warner steps in for a number of games when Esiason isn’t available. The Thursday night broadcast will feature Ian Eagle and Tony Boselli. Former NFL head coach and front office executive Mike Holmgren has been added as a Thursday night contributor. Jim Gray and Scott Graham return as the network’s pregame and halftime hosts.
A former ESPN baseball analyst is the latest to join Barstool Sports. The latest free agent signing is former pitcher Dallas Braden. The charismatic and colorful on-air analyst will contribute to a new baseball podcast being produced by Barstool.
Houston sports radio veteran Fred Davis has returned to Sports Radio 610 KILT. Davis spent the past few years working for Gow Media’s ESPN Houston 97.5, after a solid run as a host at 610. He is contributing on-air in a part-time role.
Staying in Houston, with Charlie Pallilo signing on to host for Gow Media’s SB Nation Radio 1560 AM, Joe George has received an internal promotion to produce Pallilo’s new show. George previously worked nights with Matt Perrault and Tony Desiere. He’ll also continue hosting a Saturday show on SB Nation Radio from 10a-1p CT.
Former SB Nation Radio host Will Palaszczuk has left Houston, Texas for Columbia, South Carolina. The versatile on-air personality has joined SportsTalkSC which focuses heavily on Clemson and the University of South Carolina sports. Palaszczuk will team with Phil Kornblut and Tom Hayes on a daily 2-hour program which airs all across the state. He’ll also cover games for both schools on the road. His on-air debut is set for this Tuesday.
Elsewhere in Texas, 105.5 FM in Corpus Christi has dropped ESPN Radio programming. The radio station has changed formats and is now airing music.
The West Palm Beach market is gaining a 4th sports radio station. Sports Radio 1230 The Zone launched last Monday, and features CBS Sports Radio programming and The Defo Show featuring Jeff DeForrest, which originates out of Miami on iHeart Radio’s Sports Radio 940 WINZ-AM. The market also has sports talk content being created by Good Karma Broadcasting’s ESPN West Palm, 640 The Hurricane and ESPN Deportes 760.
Radio Influence has added former NFL and College Football coach and scout and current NBC Sports Radio Football Analyst Chris Landry to its digital brand. Landry is launching a new podcast titled Landry Football which will debut on Tuesday, August 15th. The plan is for new episodes to be made available every Tuesday and Thursday.
After seven years working for TSN as a reporter and anchor, Amanda Stein is ready to take on a new challenge. The Canadian sports broadcaster is moving to New Jersey to become the new All-Access host for the New Jersey Devils.
A few valuable behind the scenes contributors have left Sports Radio WNML in Knoxville. After 3 years, Blake Hatfield has accepted an internship with Charlotte Motor Speedway to further his Master’s program. Also exiting is Amanda Watson, who recently served as producer of the Erik Ainge Show and Sports 180. Watson has landed an opportunity outside of radio as a Marketing Director for Foothills Federal Credit Union.
Switching to game broadcasts, Virginia Tech coverage is getting an extra boost this season. FOX Sports 910 afternoon host Wes McElroy has been named co-host of the Kubota Kickoff Show with Andrew Allegretta on the Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network. He’ll also co-host Hokies Postgame Live with Jon Laaser. The postgame show will run an hour long and also broadcast on Facebook Live via the Virginia Tech Athletics page. McElroy will also host the Saturday morning College Football Tailgate Show which airs across 10 affiliates in Virginia. It’s his second year hosting the program.
ESPN Las Vegas has named Joe Arrigo its new pre-game host of UNLV football broadcasts. Michael Robinson has been chosen as the new sideline reporter for University of Toledo football. Justin McIsaac steps in as the new color commentator on University of New Hampshire broadcasts.
In television news, FOX Sports has added former Oregon Head Football coach Mark Helfrich as a college football analyst. That means the last three Ducks head coaches (Chip Kelly and Mike Bellotti are the other two) will all hold television analyst roles this season.
After a lengthy NFL career, Cory Redding Sr. is ready to start the next phase of his professional life. The former defensive tackle has signed on as a football analyst for ESPN‘s Longhorn Network.
Cris Collinsworth won’t be the only member of the Collinsworth family working on national sports television this football season. Cris’ son, Jac Collinsworth, has accepted a position with ESPN to serve as a features reporter on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.
News from a few local markets, Katie Austin has joined FOX Sports West as host of Southern California Prep Insider. Mary Dunleavy has been hired by WRAL in Raleigh, NC to serve as a Sports Anchor and Reporter. Trish Christakes has been named Sports Director and Anchor by WEEK/WHOI in Peoria, Illinois. Brian Schnee has been named News/Sports anchor at KTVL News Channel 10 in Medford, Oregon. And Charlotte native Alex Weaver is returning home to work in a broadcasting role with NASCAR.
Switching to print news, ESPN has re-signed senior writer Seth Wickersham and added Joel Anderson and Phil Steele. Wickersham has written for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com since graduating college in 2000. Anderson joins the network after four years at BuzzFeed. Steele joins ESPN full time after contributing part-time the past few years to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine.
Jason King has inked a new deal to remain Senior Writer for Bleacher Report. As Richard Deitsch previously tweeted, Bleacher Report has also re-signed Howard Beck and Matt Miller.
Pro Football Weekly has added a familiar face. NFL reporter Eric Edholm returns to the platform that gave him his start to serve as an enterprising news writer. To read Edholm’s welcome back piece click here.
The Athletic continues to add to its various digital platforms. Chris Vannini has joined the College Football platform led by Stewart Mandel. Dana O’Neil has signed on to contribute to the college basketball platform being run by Seth Davis. Tim Kawakami shares that Lisa Olson and Eno Sarris have joined The Athletic’s Bay Area division. Kevin Fishbain has signed on to cover the Bears for The Athletic Chicago, and Brendan Quinn is working the Michigan and Michigan State basketball beat for The Athletic Detroit.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports Radio News
Jay Williams Calls Listener, Forces Him To Pay Their $1000 Lakers Bet
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
If you owe Jay Williams money, he is going to find you. Just ask Rob, a listener in Orlando who bet the ESPN Radio morning man that the Lakers would advance to the NBA Finals.
Last week, Rob called Keyshawn, JWill and Max and bet Williams $1000 the Lakers would eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Williams said if that happened, he would pay Rob $1500.
Obviously, that is not the way things played out. On Tuesday morning, Jay Williams called Rob demanding payment.
“He owes me my money,” he said. “So you know what we do? We got Detective Pat on the call today. Pat, let’s give this man a call. See if this guy picks up, trying to run away from giving me my money.”
The show’s associate producer Patrick Costello called the number Rob left last week. On the first attempt, the listener did not pick up. Williams vowed to keep up the pressure on social media and national radio and television until he got paid.
“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”
“You know, getting that money is a wrap, Jay,” Keyshawn Johnson said through laughter. “I told you that.”
The show made one more attempt to connect with Rob before having to turn things over to Greeny. This time, the Lakers fan picked up and acknowledged that he had to pay. He offered to make a donation in Williams’s name.
“I’ll send you my bank account here privately, and then I will send it to the charity of my choice,” Williams agreed.
Rob agreed to the arrangement. Williams asked him if he wanted to apologize for doubting the basketball analyst’s prediction of the Lakers’ demise.
“Apologize? I need the Lakers to apologize to me after that performance,” Rob said. “Because Jesus Christ, that was horrible. That was bad.”
Sports Radio News
Stoney & Jansen on LeBron James Retirement Talk: ‘NBA Needs Offseason Stories’
“I think we pick and choose with him. I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
As the Los Angeles Lakers exited the court after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, a grim reality set in across the basketball world regarding the future of forward LeBron James. Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up, James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, a 19-time All Star selection, four-time MVP, and four-time NBA champion.
During his postgame media availability on Monday, he stated that he had to seriously think about his future, undoubtedly referencing retirement. James just completed his 20th season in the Association and continues to play at a high level, but is going to think about walking away from the game after falling short of the NBA Finals this year.
“He’s been a pretty good soldier for the game,” said Tom Milikan, morning show producer and assistant program director at 97.1 The Ticket. “There’s been some things I haven’t agreed with him [on] that he’s liked or tweeted or whatever. I think he’s had some ignorance, but I think that applies to every single athlete out there that’s great.”
Throughout his NBA career, James has been the subject of criticism. The ESPN special he participated in titled The Decision saw him reveal he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. He is also a frequent subject across the network’s programming, including on Get Up, First Take and NBA Today.
“I think we pick and choose with him,” Millikan said. “I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”
Show co-host Mike Stone read messages from the 97.1 The Ticket text line during the show, many of which criticized James for being a “flopping” player desperate for any semblance of attention since he will not be in the NBA Finals. One text suggested his revelation of weighing retirement was done intentionally, surmising that he has a film documentary crew around him and coming back stronger than ever would make for a great story.
“The league needs some offseason stories,” Millikan said. “From what I know, the free agency class is not all that great this year – and one of the big names is Kyrie Irving, and that’s toxic. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, maybe they’re generating buzz or trying to do the whole Brady thing.’ So be it – I’ve seen it 15 times in my life.”
Stone recognized that athletes like James are genuinely once-in-a-generation type talents, and that his time in the NBA has been defined by more than what he has done on the court. James has also been an immense advocate for greater causes, including social issues, youth education and community affairs. Whenever he decides to call it a career though, fans should rest assured that James has truly given the game everything he has.
“I want to see the best that they have for as long as possible,” show co-host Jon Jansen said of star athletes. “If they end up playing too long, so be it. I don’t care. Then I know I’ve [seen] it all.”
Sports Radio News
Danny Parkins: NFL Teams ‘Don’t Really Care About Your In-Stadium Experience’
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it.”
On Monday at the NFL Owners’ Meetings, flex scheduling for Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football was approved 24-8. Games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17 with 28 days notice required. Additionally, a maximum of two games can be flexed per season, with the entire operation being on “a trial basis.”
“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it,” said Danny Parkins on 670 The Score as the news broke Monday. “[The] first rule already happened, and the Bears are one of the teams that either benefit or are victimized by the rule depending on your interpretation. You can play on multiple Thursdays this year. You can’t play multiple road Thursdays, but the Bears have two Thursday night games – in Washington and home against Carolina.”
In an effort to broadcast compelling action on a national stage, the National Football League did not give all of its 32 teams at least one game on national television this season. Conversely, the New York Jets, complete with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be featured on national television for the maximum of six times, including two matchups on Thursday Night Football. The Jets, along with the Chicago Bears, dissented from voting in favor of flexible scheduling, but Parkins assumes it has nothing to do with the fans.
“My guess is [it is] because they already have two Thursday night games,” Parkins said. “Maybe they’re just altruistic and they care about fans and travel and all that, but I bet you that they said, ‘Well, we’re playing in Week 5 in Washington and Week 10 at home against Carolina. We don’t want to risk Bears-Browns or Bears-Falcons being flexed into Thursday Night Football later in the season and end up with three Thursday night games.’”
Many football fans and media professionals have pushed back on granting the property any type of flex scheduling because of the negative impact it has on injury prevention, something that is not as pronounced with other properties solely because of the day of the week. Sunday Night Football on NBC was previously the only property with flex scheduling ability, and Monday Night Football on ESPN is being granted that ability between Weeks 12 and 17 with at least 12 days notice.
“They don’t really care about your in-stadium experience – they don’t,” Parkins said of the league. “As long as you watch on TV, they’re thrilled because that’s where they make a huge, ungodly percentage of their money – more so than any of the other sports.”