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Under The Radar – January 9, 2018

Jason Barrett

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We’re not even ten days into the new year and already there have been a number of sports media developments to pass along. As always, if you have news to share and would like to have it included in a future column please pass it along via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here’s the latest.

Sports 1280 in New Orleans has reshuffled its lineup. As part of the changes, Josh Innes takes over mornings. The station is simulcasting Innes’ Houston program which airs on SportsTalk 790. The remainder of the schedule includes Dunc and Holder from 10a-12p, Eric Asher from 12p-2p, Chris Gordy from 2p-4p and Kaare Johnson from 4p-6p.

Another FOX Sports radio affiliate is also adjusting its weekday schedule. FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix has rolled out its new weekday schedule which includes Dan Patrick 7a-10a, Colin Cowherd 10a-1p, Doug Gottlieb 1p-4p and Jody Oehler from 4p-7p. Kenny and Crash and the Rich Eisen show occupy the evening hours.

The Philadelphia Phillies have announced the addition of a trio of former players to their radio broadcast team for the 2018 season. Joining play by play man Scott Franzke in the booth will be Kevin Jordan, Kevin Stocker and Kevin Frandsen. Frandsen currently works for KNBR in San Francisco. His involvement with Phillies broadcasts won’t affect his involvement in the Bay Area.

Staying in Philly, 97.5 The Fanatic has elevated Natalie Egenolf and Tyrone Johnson to full time roles. Johnson will produce Mike Missanelli‘s program and Egenolf will handle updates from 12p-6p plus take on more responsibility with the station’s social media. Andrew Salciunas who had been producing Missanelli on an interim basis returns to middays working with Harry Mayes and Jason Myrtetus.

In other behind the scenes news, congratulations to Steven Spector of 610 Sports in Kansas City. The radio station recently promoted Spector to the position of Assistant Program Director.

1280 The Fan 2 in Atlanta has undergone a rebrand. The radio station is now being positioned on-air as The Sports X 1230.

A little further south in Tampa, WDAE has eliminated midday sports updates to give more talk time back to its weekday shows. Tampa’s leading sports station is also looking to improve its promotions department and has a full-time opening which can be pursued by clicking here.

With Marc Malusis moving to mornings on CBS Sports Radio, John Jastremski has gained additional air time on WFAN. JJ has taken over Malusis’ former slot, Monday and Friday overnights. CBS Sports Radio has also added former ESPN Radio host Robin Lundberg to its weekend schedule.

A couple of news items out of Boston that occurred during the past month. Christian Arcand signed on with 98.5 The Sports Hub as a part-time host. Chris Villani announced his departure from the Boston Herald.

Another great father and son story to pass along. Patrick McCarthy, son of Philadelphia Phillies and Westwood One play by play voice Tom McCarthy has joined the Phillies Triple A minor league affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs as a Media Relations and Broadcasting Assistant, working with play-by-play announcer Matt Provence on home games and select road games in 2018. McCarthy also takes over for Jon Schaeffer who left in July to join XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego.

Sports Radio News

Barstool’s Big Cat Recalls Awkward Moment of Aaron Rodgers Interview

“If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s to reroute a conversation when a guest is like, ‘Oooh, I don’t like you guys.'”

Jordan Bondurant

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Big Cat, Aaron Rodgers

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently appeared on the Barstool Sports podcast, Pardon My Take, and the interview seemed to go well.

Podcast co-host, Dan “Big Cat” Katz, who is a die-hard Bears fan and well-documented Aaron Rodgers hater, relished in the fact that Rodgers agreed to take trash talk from him.

But there was one moment where things almost derailed.

Big Cat, in his weekly appearance on ESPN Chicago with Tom Waddle and Marc “Silvy” Silverman, talked about asking Rodgers how many grandmothers he had killed (A reference to Rodgers not being vaccinated against COVID-19 and his beliefs on vaccine mandates).

“That was a good lesson that PFT and I sometimes have to learn,” Big Cat said, before saying he saved the interview by finding a way out of the subject. “If there’s one thing I know how to do well, it’s to reroute a conversation when a guest is like, ‘Oooh, I don’t like you guys.'”

Katz said it was a moment where they had to pause and understand what they were actually asking and insinuating with Rodgers.

“That was one of those ones we really don’t live in the real world, so when we go out into the real world and we say something that we’ve been joking about within the confines of our studio on ears that haven’t heard those jokes before, it’s kind of like, ‘Wait what did you guys just say? Are you really joking about grandmothers that died from COVID?'” he said. “And then when you get it repeated back to you, you’re kind of like, ‘Oh, yeah that is kind of messed up. Right, good point.”

Katz mentioned Rodgers went with the whole bit for the interview the entire time. So while there was a brief second where things could’ve gone south, everyone just let it go.

“Score one for Aaron, but he was smiling,” Big Cat said. “It was all in good fun.”

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Fescoe in the Morning: ESPN Has a History of Ignoring Non-Partner Leagues

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

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Fescoe in the Morning

ESPN is out of the running for the Big Ten football and basketball media rights. Those will be awarded to a combination of other networks and likely a streaming service. ESPN appears to be focusing on NCAA Championships next.

Josh Klingler, co-host of Fescoe in the Morning on 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, took time on their show on Tuesday to break down what that might mean for the Big Ten in terms of coverage.

“You’re (Big Ten) going to network television, which is better; more eyeballs and what have you,” noted Klingler. “But also, let’s not forget ESPN has a history of ignoring you when you’re not on their air. That’s the risk they are going to run.”

Klingler would add, “They are going to take the money. They are going to get network viewers, which is good. I guess the highlight and the hype and all those things that we are accustomed to doing that ESPN provides. We’ve already seen they ignore you if you’re not on their network.”

Bob Fescoe chimed in a reminder about another prominent league that chose not to partner with ESPN.

“Ask the National Hockey League what happened when they took the money from NBC and ran,” said Fescoe.

“They are risking being ignored by ESPN now,” replied Klingler.

“Right, but I think they are willing to do that for a billion dollars per year,” Fescoe responded.

Fescoe then said that the Big Ten might make up for the perceived shortcomings of not being on ESPN by being on network television.

“If you’re going to be on network TV in all three windows, Josh, quite honestly all your marquee games are going to be free,” said Fescoe.

“That’s exposure,” said Klingler.

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Sports Radio News

NESN’s Dave O’Brien Says National Networks “Blew It” By Not Hiring Dennis Eckersley

“I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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Dennis Eckersley

On Monday, Dennis Eckersley decided to make it known that this season would be his last with NESN in the booth. He mentioned that after 50 years in baseball, it was time to go be with the grandchildren in San Diego.

His broadcast partner for a lot of those years in the NESN booth was Dave O’Brien. On the latest Sports Media Mayhem podcast, O’Brien joined show host Alex Reimer to talk about the retirement of Eckersley. Reimer pointed out that it took awhile before Eckersley became the main color analyst for the team. O’Brien remembered the time well.

“When he started, he was pre- and post- and he did that most of his career at NESN,” said O’Brien. “It was really, only the last six or seven years that he really started to get on as a game analyst.”

O’Brien was named the lead play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Red Sox coverage in 2016 which is about the same time Eckersley slid into the role of game analyst. In the time since, O’Brien has seen the work of Eckersley up close and is floored that he was working for a regional sports network and not somewhere more nationally prominent.

“I think the national people totally blew it on Dennis Eckersley,” blurted O’Brien. “And that includes Turner. They had an opportunity, I can say that because a lot of those people there now didn’t make the decision. He should have been the lead analyst doing national games. He should have been on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball or FOX. I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”

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