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Under The Radar – August 14, 2017

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Sports media news continues to trickle in and this is the place where you learn about some of the developments you may not have been aware of. If you’d like to have your personal or station news included in a future edition of UTR, please send details via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s the latest activity.

Congratulations to Jeff Rickard who has been promoted to Program Director at 107.5/1070 The Fan in Indianapolis. The veteran national sports talk show host had been working for the station as its Executive Producer, and with Greg Rakestraw being tasked with developing the company’s Network Indiana project, Rickard has been given an opportunity to take on a bigger role overseeing day to day programming operations.

Staying in Indiana, Luke Martin has been named the new voice of Indiana State football. Martin will also have an extended role covering Indiana State baseball.

Thirty three years of calling Kansas City Chiefs games is plenty for former quarterback Len Dawson. The radio voice of the Chiefs will wrap up his legendary career calling the team’s games for the 2017 season before the organization turns the microphone over to a new announcer next season. Dawson said, “I’ve been blessed for what I had the opportunity to do. I could not have accomplished so much without my teammates and colleagues – I am grateful for each of them.”

Continuing with Chiefs news, KMOX (1120 AM) is back as a radio affiliate of the team for the 2017 NFL season. When games conflict with KMOX’s Cardinals or Blues commitments, they’ll be moved to 590 The Fan, KFNS.

Speaking of 590 The Fan, KFNS, the station is also gearing up for football season by making a number of solid moves. First, they’ve signed on as an affiliate of the Dallas Cowboys, airing all of the team’s games for the 2017 NFL season. In addition, former Rams defensive tackle D’Marco Farr will be appearing three times per week on the station as a contributor. Farr last worked for 101 ESPN before moving to Los Angeles. The station has also added former front office executive Mike Lombardi for two call-ins per week.

The New York Daily News reports that the New York Mets radio contract is set to expire at the end of the 2018 season. Talks have begun between the team and its radio partner, iHeartmedia New York. Mets games air on WOR 710AM.

A pretty cool story worth sharing. 920 The Jersey host and program director Zach Gelb will get his shot to fill in on WFAN in New York this weekend. Gelb will host the 2am ET shift early Sunday morning. Zach’s father Bob works for The Fan in sales after previously contributing to the programming department.

Talkers produced a fantastic piece highlighting the growth of WEEI‘s digital brand. The radio station recently celebrated nine years of digital excellence. To get familiar with the brand’s story click here.

Congratulations goes out to Evan Wilner. After seven years at MLB Network Radio, Wilner is moving over to SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation to serve as the channel’s Executive Producer.

Former 97.5 The Fanatic and Bleacher Report radio host Nick Kayal underwent some vocal troubles over the past two years. Fortunately things have turned in a positive direction with Kayal announcing that he’s been cleared to return to broadcasting following vocal cord surgery.

A newcomer is Portland bound. Brandon Droz has signed off in Grand Junction, CO, where he had worked for 1340 The Team, Magic 93.1, 92.3 The Moose, 1100 KNZZ  and 96.1 KSTAR, in order to join the Portland sports radio scene. Droz hasn’t said yet which station he’s joining. Stay tuned.

Alpha Media has struck a deal with Coastal Carolina University for WRNN-AM/FM to serve as the new flagship station of the Chanticleer Sports Network through the 2019-2020 season. The new agreement gives the radio station the ability to carry live game-day coverage of football, baseball, and men’s basketball.

Hall of Fame second baseman and former Cincinnati Red Joe Morgan will join Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley on Reds Wednesday home-game broadcasts through the remainder of the MLB season. Morgan will work Reds games against the Cubs, Mets, Brewers and Cardinals for FOX Sports Ohio.

Brett Dolan, a broadcasting veteran with twenty seven years of experience working on game broadcasts for the Houston Astros, ESPN, Root Sports, Comcast SportsNet and Fox Sports Television, has been chosen as the SEC Network voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Dolan will be the Razorbacks’ lead play-by-play announcer and host a number of Razorback programs on RSN and Cox Sports Television. He’ll also oversee the strategic planning of video content for ArkansasRazorbacks.com. An official announcement will be made later this month.

After nine years at ESPN, Jason Vida has moved on to become the Associate Director of Athletic Public Relations for the University of Richmond.

While one departs the worldwide leader, another joins. David Albiani has been added as a production assistant. Albiani also contributes to Cover32.com writing about the New England Patriots.

WCTV in Tallahassee has a brand new sports director. Kevin Keane has accepted the opportunity and is heading home. He had been working for KGWN in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

In a surprising move in the windy city, Chris Boden is out at CSN Chicago after ten years. Boden says he was let go but is grateful for his time with the company. He hopes to find a new broadcast home real soon.

The run has also come to an end for Kevin Bowen. After spending five years working for the Indianapolis Colts and contributing to radio, television and print, Bowen says the team notified him they were parting ways. He called the opportunity a dream come true situation and thanked Colts fans for paying attention to his work.

Congratulations to Phoenix Carnevale on being hired by AXS TV. She’s been added as the channel’s cage/ringside reporter for MMA fights.

Effective today, Nate Scott is working for SB Nation. He says he’s looking forward to the opportunity to work with the best crew of storytellers working online today.

In Denver, Nick Kosmider has been added to the Denver Broncos beat at the Denver Post. He’ll work in tandem with Nicki Jhabvala covering the team.

Dean Straka is ready to start breaking news on the Big 12. Straka has announced that he’s signed on to work for Diehards.com. The site has also added Grant McGalliard as a freelance reporter.

And finally, after two years with the Shawano Leader, Chris Caporale is leaving to become the sports editor of the Daily Jefferson County Union.

Sports Radio News

UConn Basketball’s Mike Crispino Less Critical of Referees As Official Himself

“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this. Because I realize how hard it is.”

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@mikecrispinonyk on Twitter

While basketball broadcasters may not have as contentious a relationship with referees as coaches, players, and fans, part of calling the action can involve criticizing a call. And with broadcasters typically positioned at courtside, there is certainly more opportunity for exchanges with officials than in football or hockey, for example.

But as David Borges writes in a feature for CT Insider, UConn men’s basketball play-by-play announcer Mike Crispino might go a bit easier on referees than his colleagues. And that’s because Crispino works as a referee himself when he’s not at the mic, officiating high school basketball and baseball games in Connecticut

Crispino has been a referee for 12 years and says it completely changed how he viewed officiating while calling play-by-play for the New York Knicks and UConn Huskies. Prior to donning the stripes, he would often question calls during a broadcast.

“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this,” Crispino told Borges. “Because I realize how hard it is. It’s not easy. You’re on-call all the time. You’ve got to have two hours of being sharp. You can’t get lazy, you can’t get distracted, you can’t listen to too many people barking about stuff. You have to be on it. Otherwise, you’re not doing the service that you’re getting paid to do.”

Despite having the perspective of a working referee, Crispino — who’s been broadcasting UConn men’s basketball for the past four years — still gets caught up in the moment and questions certain calls, sometimes with the officials standing right in front of him.

Unlike broadcasting, where young announcers are always trying to break into the industry, Crispino is concerned about the future of officiating. He says fewer people work as referees because of stories about angry parents and coaches.

Of course, Crispino has also experienced such exchanges from the other side with high school coaches disputing his calls as a referee. But he’s only issued one ejection during his officiating career, along with just a few technical fouls. Seeing referees work at the college and NBA levels as a broadcaster has helped him understand how to deal with such situations. That perspective has clearly been beneficial in both jobs.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee Irritated At Fans’ ‘Throw Rogan’ Nickname For Aaron Rodgers

“His haters got very loud.”

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The Pat McAfee Show

Many NFL fans, both casual and diehard, were ready with jeers and nicknames for Aaron Rodgers following the Green Bay Packers’ 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday’s NFL divisional playoff game.

As Pat McAfee pointed out on his show Monday, fans were eager to throw insults at Rodgers, waiting for the opportunity like a batter waiting for the ideal pitch to hit.

“People were sitting on ‘Throw Rogan,'” said McAfee, who naturally supported the person who appears on The Pat McAfee Show every week and made those conversations must-see viewing.

That particular nickname is a play on Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host whose advice Rodgers followed for batting COVID-19. As Rogan recommended, Rodgers took the drug Ivermectin, which is typically used to treat roundworms and other parasites.

McAfee cited last week’s ESPN.com feature on Rodgers by Kevin Van Valkenburg in which the reporter detailed the turn perception has taken toward the Packers QB this season and Rodgers’ strident belief in himself as a free thinker and intellectual.

Co-host A.J. Hawk agreed, adding another popular nickname posted to social media Saturday. “QAaron Rodgers” mocks the quarterback’s stated belief in conspiracy theories regarding the vaccine.

On the field, the Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC and considered in prime position to advance to the Super Bowl. Rodgers will likely win the NFL Most Valuable Player award (despite some voters feeling otherwise) for the second consecutive season after passing for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns (to just seven interceptions), while completing 68.9 percent of his throws and leading Green Bay to a 13-4 regular-season record.

But off the field, Rodgers gained national notoriety and became a controversial figure for his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Rodgers refused to get vaccinated, which put him at odds with many throughout the country. But what became the subject of national outrage and discussion was the quarterback giving the impression that he’d been vaccinated by saying he was “immunized” against the virus.

That turned many people against Rodgers for the past three months and those fans took delight from him losing in the playoffs. (The quarterback also lost some fans for trying to force a trade during the offseason and it’s possible Rodgers played his final game in Green Bay on Saturday.) And they flooded social media with nicknames.

“His haters got very loud,” said McAfee. “But I will say, I don’t think he has a lot of haters in general managers around the NFL on whether or not they can get him in the building.”

The trade rumors will begin gaining heat soon. Will fans tossing out derisive nicknames right now — especially those supporting the Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Saints, and Steelers — eventually embrace him as their quarterback? You know the answer to that.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI (Update)

“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”

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Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.

Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.

In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.

In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.

On Monday, Jeff Rickard took to Twitter to update fans and followers on his situation. He did not have anything negative to say about WEEI, Audacy, or anyone involved with him coming to Boston. He even noted that this move is likely what is best for him and his family.

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