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Under The Radar – August 21, 2017



BSM is Los Angeles bound for the week for the Podcast Movement Conference and to visit a few familiar sports media industry faces. If you have news to share on behalf of yourself or your organization and wish to be included in an upcoming edition of UTR, please send it along via email to

Now onto this week’s industry developments.

BSM is pleased to announce the addition of four sports media members to our writing team. FOX Sports Radio host Brian Noe, 610 Sports General Sales Manager Dave Greene, former KHTK Program Director and 104.3 The Fan Assistant Program Director Kevin Sherrets, and former 620 The Buzz executive producer and SB Nation Radio fill-in host Demetri Ravanos will all be providing content for the website in the future. BSM still has a few openings so if interested in writing about sports media, send an email along with a writing sample by email by clicking here.

Congratulations to Gregg Henson. After being the victim of a budget cut in Pittsburgh, while performing a dual role as program director of ESPN Pittsburgh and co-host of Jim, Droo and Gregg for iHeart Detroit and Grand Rapids, the veteran host and programmer has landed a new opportunity. Henson has relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska where he’s joined Alpha Media as program director and morning host. Henson began his new assignment last Monday. Be sure to keep an eye out this week for his review of 5 Podcasts in 5 Days on

This year’s NAB radio conference in Austin, Texas will include a special appearance by WEEI morning host Kirk Minihane. One of the most successful local sports radio hosts with a popular podcast that has outperformed industry standards, Minihane will take part in a panel titled “Radio’s New Strategies and New Platforms” with Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs and Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein. A live performance by songwriter and recording artist Robert Earl Keen is also planned for the session. For more information click here.

It looks like John Kincade will be staying a little longer in Atlanta. The 680 The Fan talk show host has confirmed he’s signed a new contract with the radio station to remain partners with longtime running mate Buck Belue. Buck and Kincade have been together for 17 years, and are on the verge of celebrating 4,000 shows together. Truly a remarkable feat.

Another congratulations is in order for ESPN Radio‘s Pete Gianesini who recently celebrated 20 years with the company. Gianesini has climbed the ladder to become a trusted part of the network’s management team, having made a positive impact on the careers of many who have worked under him. He currently serves as ESPN Audio’s Senior Director of Digital Programming.

WDAE in Tampa won’t be sticking around for the end of Mike and Mike and the start of Trey Wingo and Mike Golic. Instead, the station plans to introduce a brand new local morning show starting Monday August 28th. Details on the station’s new team will be available soon.

After 18 months writing and reporting on the Bay Area sports scene, Kevin Jones‘ time at KNBR has come to an end. Jones joined the radio station in February 2016 after working for the Cleveland Browns, Pro Football Focus, Sports Illustrated’s The Cauldron and radio stations 91.3 WZMB in Greenville, NC and WUSA-9 in Washington D.C. He’s looking for his next opportunity and can be reached by clicking here.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area, it’s good to see Mychael Urban getting more involved in sports media work again. Urbs as he’s known to Bay Area sports fans has been filling in on 95.7 The Game and working on a writing project for The Athletic SF.

SiriusXM is bringing in the ole ball coach. College Football Hall of Fame coach and quarterback Steve Spurrier has signed on to contribute three times per week on the College Sports National channel. He’s expected to chat on Tuesdays with Chris Childers and Rick Neuheisel, Wednesdays with Mark Packer, and Thursdays with Greg McElroy and Taylor Zarzour.

Speaking of satellite radio, it didn’t take long for Mitch Moss and Paul Howard to rise up the ranks at VSIN, the Brent Musburger fronted sports handicapping network which is carried on SiriusXM. Moss and Howard’s show, Follow The Money, which began in April in middays is moving to morning drive starting Monday August 28th. For more information on the show/network click here.

1500 ESPN in Minneapolis took advantage of the power of national celebrities to create a successful event for their audience. The radio station welcomed Mike Golic and Mike Golic Jr. to town for their first ever Fantasy Football Convention. Over 400 people attended the event which included a Q&A with the Golic’s, giveaways of Super Bowl tickets, Vikings tickets, 65′ TCL Roku TV, Mystic cash and 300 RotoWire Fantasy FB magazine giveaways. Minneapolis for a station event. To read about the promotion click here. For photos click here.

Former 670 The Score host and update anchor Matt Abbatacola has landed work outside of the radio industry. The former Chicago sports personality has been named Director of Sales and Marketing at The Health Guardian.

Congratulations to Denver sports media personalities Nate Lundy, Brad Evans and Lauren Gardner. After launching The Fantasy Football Hour television show last year with Brad Evans and Lauren Gardner on regional channel Altitude TV, the program will be extending its reach for the 2017 season. Lundy reports that the show will be carried by MSG in New York and on several FOX Sports regional outlets. The show will have the ability to reach roughly 70 million homes this football season.

T.J. Weber is returning to his alma mater, Lindenwood University, to become the school’s new play by play voice for football and men’s basketball. Weber previously called games for SIUE and the Gateway Grizzlies.

A tip of the cap goes out to 680 The Fan host Steak Shapiro who recently had his Atlanta Eats television show picked up and extended to seven days per week on Peachtree TV in the Atlanta market.

A former ESPNer is reuniting with Bill Simmons. Justin Verrier has joined The Ringer as senior editor of the website’s NBA section.

Bay Area sports writer Courtney Cronin has left the Bay Area News Group to join ESPN covering the Minnesota Vikings for its NFL Nation section. Cronin says she’ll be relocating to Minneapolis soon.

Morgan Beard is returning to Baton Rouge. The sports anchor and reporter has been added at WVLA Local 33 to cover LSU, the New Orleans Saints and other local sports stories.

Another reunion is taking place in Spokane, Washington. Alyssa Charlston is on her way back to work for KXLY-Channel 4 as a sports anchor and reporter.

Paloma Villicana has been hired as a sports anchor and reporter for WOAY-TV.

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.”



@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.”



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 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.”



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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