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Seattle Times Bans Its Writers From Appearing on KJR

Jason Barrett

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The Seattle Times have come under fire after making the decision to prevent their sports writers from appearing on local radio station Sports Radio 950 KJR. According to local reports, the Times cites “competing forms of media” as the reason for instituting the ban. Times CEO Frank Blethen is said to be the driving force behind the decision, although sports editor Paul Barrett and executive editor Don Shelton will likely take most of the media hits.

KJR has previously served as an outlet for Times’ sportswriters to appear regularly. Seahawks reporter Bob Condotta, Mariners reporter Ryan Divish, and Washington Huskies football reporter Adam Jude all have consistent segments on the radio station, and columnists Matt Calkins and Larry Stone, Washington Huskies basketball reporter Percy Allen, and Sounders FC reporter Geoff Baker make occasional visits as well.

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An issue which is at the center of the tension between the newspaper and radio station is the Seattle Arena situation. The Times have produced a number of pieces highlighting the Seattle Center’s Key Arena project and ignoring Chris Hansen’s Sodo arena pursuit, KJR hosts have been against the Key Arena suggestions and have called out the Times and Blethen for slanting their coverage.

No matter what the thinking is behind the decision, the move is unlikely to paint the Times in a positive light. If the goal of the newspaper is to gain readers, advertisers and promotion, choosing this strategy severely hampers it. They’ve also given additional credibility to KJR by showing that the opinions of the radio station’s hosts strike a chord inside their operation.

How the matter gets resolved is anyone’s guess, but for now, Times writers won’t be appearing on KJR, which may or may not turn out to be beneficial for their local competitor, 710 ESPN Seattle.

Sports Radio News

Mike Rhyner Introduces Dallas to 97.1 The Freak

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

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Ben Torres / Special Contributor Dallas Morning News

There’s a new radio station in Dallas which features a number of personalities familiar to local sports radio listeners. 97.1 The Freak made its much anticipated debut and the first voice to be heard belonged to the ”Old Grey Wolf” Mike Rhyner.

97.1 The Eagle stopped regular programming late Monday morning and began stunting, a technique radio stations use to separate listeners from old programming and prepare them for new content. The station began by playing songs with the word “freak” in them before transitioning into a continuous loop of “The Waiting is the Hardest Part” by Tom Petty until 3p CT. Then, a voiceover detailing the Eagle’s history switched into the voice that Dallas-Forth Worth residents have gotten to know so well, Mike Rhyner.

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

Rhyner went on to relive his final moments at The Ticket in Dallas. He said he was getting his “head around being a Paw Paw” before getting a call from Ben Rogers of the Ben and Skin Show and thus an idea for The Freak began to take shape.

After that, the show’s intro music played and Rhyner welcomed in Mike Sirois and before you knew it, the guys were wondering about a quarterback controversy in Dallas.

97.1 The Freak is off and running with a lineup that includes “The Speakeasy,” with Jeff Cavanaugh, Kevin “KT’ Turner, Julie Dobbs, and Matt Cather in mornings (7-11am), “Ben & Skin Show” in middays (11am-3pm) and “The Downbeat” in afternoons (3p-7p) featuring Mike Rhyner alongside Mike Sirois and Michael “Grubes” Gruber.

The station is positioning itself as a lifestyle brand but given its talent connection to local sports radio and the strong interest in Dallas sports, it’s likely the talent will weave sports talk into their on-air discussions. Sports Radio 1310/96.7 The Ticket and 105.3 The Fan have enjoyed good ratings with the male 25-54 demographic and The Freak is expected to challenge them and every other brand that produces spoken word content.

“We’re beyond excited to introduce 97-1 the Freak – the level of talent is insurmountable, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to further connect with Dallas Fort Worth,” Patrick Davis, Regional Senior Vice President of Programming Dallas, shared in an announcement.

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Sports Radio News

Howie Rose Plans to Travel for Mets Postseason Games

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose said.

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Howie Rose has cut back on his travel schedule as the radio voice of the New York Mets in 2022, but he says that no place is off limits during the playoffs.

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose told Newsday. “A lot of this was designed to make sure that I had enough reserve to be able to handle anything that comes up in terms of road trips.”

Rose, 68, readies for what is likely to be a Wild Card series start to the playoffs and because of their Wild Card status, a win there could mean a trip to Los Angeles for the National League Divisional Series.

“It’s not exactly like managing Edwin Diaz’s innings, but I think that doing the number of games that I have and more to the point, being able to take the breaks that I have, has enabled me to approach the postseason with a clear mind and the full-speed-ahead attitude that you need to have.”

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Sports Radio News

Jake Chapman Named Orlando Magic Radio Play-By-Play Voice

Chapman will make his debut as the team’s radio voice during its preseason opener tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Jake Chapman has been introduced as the new radio play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

Chapman is beginning his 10th overall season with the franchise. He has previously served as the pre-game and post-game host for the team, as well as the radio producer. He joined the club as in intern in 2006 before becoming a producer in 2009. He then joined the Detroit Pistons Radio Network in 2014 to become its pre-game and post-game host as well as executive producer. He later joined 92.3 The Fan and the Cleveland Browns Radio Network as a producer. He returned to the Magic in 2019.

Chapman will make his debut as the team’s radio voice during its preseason opener tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Brandon Kravitz will serve as co-host for pregame, halftime and postgame. The network pregame show, Magic Tonight, will hit the air 30 minutes prior to tip-off. Magic Tonight is scheduled to premiere on October 11.

96.9 The Game is the radio flagship of the Magic Radio Network.

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