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Under The Radar – September 18, 2017

Jason Barrett

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Under The Radar returns with another jammed pack week of sports media news. As usual, if you have individual or company news to pass along, send it via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s this week’s activity.

Last week’s chaos involving ESPN personality Jemele Hill has opened the floodgates to various individuals and brands defending and attacking the worldwide leader in sports. But one piece in particular stood out. Whether you agree or disagree with the notion that the sports media has shifted to the left, this presentation by John Locke Foundation Senior Vice President Jon Pritchett and Duke University professor Ed Tiryakian is very interesting. To watch it click here.

With many inside the radio industry excited, concerned and curious about the upcoming merger between CBS Radio and Entercom, one question has been how attractive the news is to stock holders. The early returns were favorable but enthusiasm has since faded. CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer addressed the situation and delivered an excellent analysis on why he feels Entercom is a wise investment. To see the segment click here.

Noise was made in Houston this week when the Texans revoked the credentials of Sports Talk 790 host Josh Innes and his producer Jim Mudd. The team was upset after Mudd reported live from practice, sharing formations and plays being used, and announcing which players were involved in team drills. Innes told the Houston Chronicle the Texans acted “randomly and arbitrarily” and that he wasn’t aware of their media policies. He cited the club’s August 22nd practice where fans were allowed to shoot audio and video from the stands as an example of confusion. “We were providing entertainment for our audience. We were trying to give information. Were people amused by it? Yes. My objective is to make people laugh, have a good show, don’t take ourselves seriously.”

97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia has stabilized its midday show. The station has promoted afternoon producer Jason Myrtetus to co-host alongside Harry Mayes. Myrtetus spent 4+ years working on Mike Missanelli’s show and says he’s excited for a new chapter in his radio career.

Speaking of additions, Sportsnet 650 in Vancouver has confirmed the hiring of Alex Auld as co-host of “Canucks Central.” Auld joins Satiar Shah weekdays from 12p-1p PT.

101 ESPN in St. Louis is doing something really cool to cover high school football. The radio station has teamed up with Silverback to deliver the high school game of the week via its website and Facebook. The production quality is fantastic and looks like a television broadcast being offered on the station’s digital and social platforms. Brad Barnes and Andrew Rogers call the action. To catch a glimpse click here. The broadcast starts about nine minutes in.

Congratulations is in order for Portland Trail Blazers radio play by play man Brian Wheeler. The veteran voice of the team has inked a new multi-year contract extension to continue calling Blazers basketball. Per company policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Larry Andersen has worked the past 47 summers in baseball. In 2018 that will change. The Philadelphia Phillies color analyst has announced he will decrease his schedule next season on radio broadcasts. The team hasn’t determined yet who will step in when Andersen isn’t working. The former major league reliever says he wants to reduce his travel and enjoy some personal time while he remains above ground.

After exiting AM 1300 The Zone, Rod Babers has resurfaced on the airwaves of crosstown rival 104.9 The Horn. Babers joined the radio station a few weeks ago, hosting a new midday show, “The Rodcast”, M-F 1p-3p CT.

Columbus sports radio station 105.7 The Zone has added a local afternoon show. “The Drive with Jackson and McCoy” now airs weekday afternoons 3p-6p ET. The program features market veteran Matt McCoy and Big Ten Network analyst Stanley Jackson.

Program Director Ryan Porth is getting busy behind the microphone. Porth is hosting a new weekly show called “Preds Insiders” on Nashville sports station 102.5 The Game. The program airs Monday nights from 6p-7p ET.

106.7 The Zone in Madison, Wisconsin has hired a new reporter/host. Danny Cunningham has agreed to join the radio station. He had recently announced his departure from ESPN Cleveland 850 WKNR. Cunningham will cover the Packers, Bucks, Brewers and University of Wisconsin Badgers for the radio station starting September 25th.

Former Louisville host Spencer Kietzman has confirmed he’s joined Arizona’s Sports Station 98.7FM. The son of WHB afternoon host Kevin Kietzman will contribute for the Phoenix brand on a part time basis.

One of Chicago’s most influential sports radio personalities is putting his lifetime of experiences in the business on paper. Former 670 The Score afternoon host Terry Boers is publishing a memoir titled “The Score of a Lifetime.” The book is expected to be released November 15th. For more details including how you can pre-order it click here.

Speaking of books, sports business consultant and host of the Tao of Sports Podcast Troy Kirby has published “Liquid Courage”, a story about three bodybuilders who attempted a casino heist. It’s available on Amazon in paperback or e-book. For more information about the book visit the Facebook page or Twitter page.

All Access featured SiriusXM sports program director Jason Dixon in their latest edition of 10 Questions. To read the piece and become more familiar with Dixon’s career in the radio industry click here.

In Baltimore, Tony Lombardi of Russell Street Report conducted an interview with 105.7 The Fan afternoon host Scott Garceau. The article includes Garceau’s thoughts on working with Jeremy Conn, Anita Marks, callers to his show, and more. To read it click here.

The Baton Rouge Business Report caught up with LSU football sideline reporter and Guaranty Media vice president and general manager Gordy Rush. One of the station’s under Rush’s watch is 104.5 ESPN. To gain further insight into Rush’s background and views click here.

In print news, The Athletic continues to stockpile talented writers. The latest to join the company is Andrew Brandt. The former NFL executive and ESPN NFL business analyst will continue producing written content for Peter King’s MMQB. He’s simply adding to his plate by creating columns for The Athletic.

Brandt may be doing double duty for SI and The Athletic but Chris Burke‘s situation is different. Burke has left SI to join The Athletic where he’ll cover the Detroit Lions for the company’s Detroit platform.

With many Bay Area sports writers flocking to The Athletic, that’s presented opportunity for others at the San Jose Mercury News. Matt Schneidman is the latest to take advantage of the situation. He’s signed on to cover the Oakland Raiders for the local newspaper.

Former FOX Sports writer Pat Muldowney has resurfaced. After being let go as part of FOX’s controversial shift to video, Muldowney has signed on to work for The Ringer.

Barstool Sports has hired their first full-time female on-air talent. Julie Stewart Binks has joined the multi-media company where she’ll be involved in a number of programs for the company. One of those projects includes hosting “The Barstool Tailgate Show” alongside company president Dave Portnoy and former NFL punter Pat McAfee. Stewart-Binks has previously worked for FS1 and works for ESPN as a sideline reporter on MLS games. Her role with Barstool won’t affect her role on ESPN.

VSporto has been ramping up its sports podcast programming. The company recently launched a new national NFL podcast with former ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan. They’ve also launched a Houston-centric podcast with local sports radio host Charlie Pallilo, and an irreverent college football show featuring Bleacher Report’s Adam Kramer and CBSSports’ Barrett Sallee.

Sticking with podcasts, Joy Taylor of FOX Sports 1‘s “Undisputed” has entered the digital audio space. Taylor has teamed up with Brandon J. Newman to launch Maybe I’m Crazy. In addition to playing the point guard between Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe, Taylor has long form talk experience. She previously hosted for 790 The Ticket in Miami and has also hosted shows on FOX Sports Radio. To hear the debut episode click here.

In sports television news, Cara Capuano has announced she’s returning to call women’s college sports for ESPN.

Derek Medlin has shared via social media that he’s returning to WRAL in two weeks. Medlin says he’s excited to get back to his roots covering sports for the channel.

Former Dallas Stars play by play man turned Los Angeles Kings announcer Ralph Strangis has received good news. The veteran hockey voice has been summoned by Westwood One to call USA Hockey this February in the winter Olympics.

And congratulations to Evan Pivnick on being named the new play by play voice and Director of Broadcasting for the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder. Pivnick previously called Bowling Green hockey games.

Sports Radio News

Nick Wilson: Deshaun Watson Press Conference ‘Insulting’ To Local Media

“You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters get to say, ask, or think.”

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson met with the media for the first time yesterday since being reinstated by the NFL after the league ruled he was guilty of violating the Personal Conduct Policy due to improper sexual advances towards more than two dozen massage therapists. 92.3 The Fan afternoon host Nick Wilson called Watson’s press conference “trash” and “insulting” to local media.

Watson told reporters he would only answer football related questions from the assembled media members, which Wilson took issue with.

“You can’t bury this story simply by saying ‘I won’t talk about it’,” Wilson said. “It is insulting to the media who covers this team. This is not about Nick Wilson, I promise. This is about the beat reporters who cover this team. It is insulting — intentionally or not — to say ‘You know what, guys? I love y’all, but I’m going to dictate what you ask me’.

“You don’t do that. You dictate when you speak, your opening statement, or how you respond. You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters — who work very hard day in, day out covering this organization, covering Deshaun Watson, covering this town — get to say, ask, or think. That was trash.”

Co-host Dustin Fox added the whole job of the media is to bring information to fans, and Watson wouldn’t allow reporters to do that Thursday, and may never do that.

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Sports Radio News

Gregg Giannotti: Biggest Issue With Craig Carton, Jon Jastremski Feud Is “Mole” At WFAN

“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems.”

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Gregg Giannotti

A feud has sprung up between WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton and former WFAN host John Jastremski. Boomer & Gio discussed the spat on Friday morning’s show, with Gregg Giannotti being troubled by a revelation.

During his New York New York podcast, a voicemail left for Jastremski asked about Carton’s comments, but the caller said a WFAN employee sent him the clip of Carton’s criticism.

“So that means we have a mole,” Boomer Esiason said.

“That right there is a problem,” Gregg Giannotti added. “‘We both have a mutual friend that still works over there’ and that person shared a link of Craig talking about JJ (Jastremski). So, clearly, that person is on JJ’s side and they’re still working here. That’s a mole! That’s someone going against the team! And I think know who that is!”

Esiason then asked if he knew the person, to which Giannotti said he did. He then asked if he would be upset by who it was, which Giannotti affirmed as well.

The show then played the final portion of Jastremski’s rant, which included him saying to Carton “I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike.”

“Jesus!” Esiason exclaimed. “Good for JJ, though. Standing up for himself.”

“I like both of these guys. I do. I got respect for both of them,” said Giannotti. “Everybody doesn’t have to go to the jail, crook thing with Craig every single time. Do they? It’s low-hanging fruit. Everybody goes there. There’s no way he can defend himself in that way because everybody saying ‘You went to jail’ didn’t go to jail, and it’s not apples and oranges. But the business stuff is apples-to-apples.

“So when I hear that, I’m just like ‘Ok, you went there. Be a little more creative than that’. As far as I listen to legend things, please, nobody has given me worse advice in my life than Mike Francesa did. Nobody. I would still be out in the newsroom cutting Islander highlights if I listened to that guy. And the only reason why Mike liked JJ was because he didn’t feel he was a threat. The only people Mike likes is the people he feels non-threatened by. And that’s where that comes from.”

After concluding Jastremski’s rant was a “little over the top”, Giannotti then turned his attention to the “mole” inside the station.

“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems. That — to me — is an issue. The guy on the voicemail said ‘We may or may not have a mutual friend that still works at the radio station’ and this guy just slammed the radio station. And he’s friends with the guy who slammed the radio station and then slammed Craig and this guy’s on their side?! And this guy that works here is on their side?! That to me is a major, major problem.”

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Sports Radio News

Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’

“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.

That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.

Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.

“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”

Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.

“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”

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