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Sports Radio News

Under The Radar – August 7, 2017

Jason Barrett

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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.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami, according to sources.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website. An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now. He was tweeting during his show’s scheduled time, with this being his most recent one which also referenced the show which appeared to still be on the air at the time.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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