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Under The Radar – March 21, 2018

Jason Barrett

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A few news items to pass along that you may not be aware of. A reminder, to have your brand or personal industry related news featured in a future UTR column please forward any pertinent information via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now here are the latest developments.

One of the best parts of this business is seeing good things happen to good people. That’s the case in Bristol, CT where ESPN Radio is losing one of their sharpest and most well rounded behind the scenes members to television. Ray Necci is giving up his multi-platform role with the radio network to help ESPN‘s new morning show “Get Up” featuring Mike Greenberg, Jalen Rose and Michelle Beadle. Necci will also work with SC:AM. Necci has spent close to nineteen years with ESPN Radio producing many of the network’s top programs and serving as a manager. His switch to television will benefit those he works closest with.

FOX Sports Radio Knoxville host Cody McClure became a topic of conversation in media circles recently after sounding off on Twitter about Sister Jean during the NCAA Tournament. After watching Tennessee get eliminated by Loyola-Chicago, McClure tweeted “F–k Sister Jean, everyone.” The tweet was noticed by Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde who took McClure to task and said he deserved to be terminated by his employer. The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, USA Today and numerous other outlets have since produced stories on the situation. McClure was not fired and said the tweet was a joke and a reflection of how Tennessee fans were feeling in the room that he was in following the tournament loss. McClure added that he’d gladly apologize to Sister Jean, but hoped she knew that his comments were delivered in joking fashion. McClure did ask “when is society going to be able to learn how to take a joke again?” He pointed out that people in real life joke about things that they wouldn’t post online, and it’s hypocritical.

Just when you’ve thought you’ve seen it all, something new transpires. That was the case in Tampa, FL where WDAE host JP Peterson found himself in the middle of an unexpected situation. While discussing the Tampa Bay Bucs’ free agent signing of Beau Allen with Chris Landry who had phoned in as a guest, the longtime football scout became perturbed with JP’s line of questioning and hung up on the Tampa sports radio host. Peterson said it was the first time in 10 years a guest had hung up on him. Did Landry have a valid reason to end the conversation or did he overreact? Take a listen and decide for yourself.

710 ESPN Seattle sports radio host and longtime NFL insider John Clayton was recently honored by his hometown of Braddock, PA. The town declared Sunday March 18th ‘John Clayton Day’. The sports media veteran was on hand to enjoy the festivities which included reconnecting with thirty people he grew up with.

In the Bay Area, 95.7 The Game has added Jerry Rice as a weekly contributor. The NFL legend who previously contributed to the station in 2014 will visit with Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal and Dan Dibley every Monday at 8am during the upcoming football season. Rice will also contribute to the station’s programming during the off-season and NFL Draft.

Matt Hammond is moving east. After spending the past few years contributing in a part-time role for Sports Radio 610 in Houston, Hammond is relocating to Philadelphia to take on a similar role at Sports Radio 94 WIP. Hammond says he’s looking forward to working in a tough sports market closer to home.

If you’ve followed the NFL or College Football for the past twenty years, specifically the Tennessee Titans or Florida Gators, you’ll likely remember Tight End Ben Troupe. He played for the Gators from 2000-2003 and was selected 40th overall by the Titans in the 2nd round of the 2004 NFL Draft. What you may not know is that Troupe has taken the plunge into the sports radio business. The former football player is now part of a three man show “Three and Out” which airs on ESPN Coastal. The Savannah Morning News did a nice profile piece on his entry into the business. You can read it by clicking here.

A tip of the cap is in order for the digital team at 104.3 The Fan in Denver. The station produced a series of videos looking at the Top 10 free agent signings in Denver Broncos history. Each video was well produced and featured discussion from The Fan’s on-air staff. It was a great example of taking a subject during a slower period of the year and creating content which served a benefit both on the air and in the social space. Kudos to Armen Williams and his crew. To watch the introductory video click here. You can also find the 10  signings videos by visiting the station’s YouTube page right here.

FM expansion is part of Neuhoff Media‘s plan for one of their local sports radio brands. ESPN 1450 WASK-AM in Lafayette, Indiana has been re-branded as 101.7 The Hammer. The station will now be heard on both 101.7FM and 1450AM.

A number of notable writers have announced their exits including Gary Meyers of the New York Daily News. Meyers spent the past 29 years with the New York newspaper and thanked the public for their support of his work via Twitter. No word yet on what Gary has planned next.

Jim Trotter is another supremely talented scribe who’s moving on to new endeavors. Trotter tweeted last week that his four year run at ESPN had come to an end. He hinted however at a new opportunity being announced soon.

In local circles, few sports radio hosts have embraced the dive into the podcast space like Scott Kaplan of the Mighty 1090 in San Diego. Since launching his solo project, Kaplan has talked to a number of people from different career fields, and although many episodes have been excellent, none have produced more real life emotion, passion and personal connection than Kaplan’s 12th episode which included a conversation with Andrew Pollack, the father of 18 year old Meadow Pollack who was gunned down and killed during the Parkland High School shootings. A former resident to the area himself, Kaplan traveled to Pollack’s home and sat down for a riveting conversation about one of the most challenging situations of his life. To hear the episode click here.

For those who enjoy Bomani Jones‘ work, the ESPN personality has announced his podcast will return on April 3rd. Stay tuned via social media for further details.

And in less pleasant news, The Jake Brown Show has gone away for now. The show was dropped due to Entercom taking over CBS and eliminating Radio.com podcasts in favor of their own network, Cadence13.

Sports Radio News

Andrew Fillipponi: Peter Burns Made ‘Innocuous Joke’ To Ben Watson

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

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The on-air spat between SEC Network host Peter Burns and analyst Ben Watson continues to be bandied about in sports media circles, with 93.7 The Fan hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller discussing the topic Tuesday.

“I’m on Team Burns,” Fillipponi said.

“Forget who’s team you’re on,” Chris Mueller said. “I think you’ve do have to keep the wives and children out of this.”

“What are you talking about, keep the wives and out of it?!,” Fillipponi asked.

“Do we believe this is work or shoot here?,” Mueller wondered.

“Oh, I think this is real,” Fillpponi added, which Mueller agreed.

“Do you think a close fist from Ben Watson hit Peter Burns?,” Mueller asked.

“No, I think he picked him up by the lapels,” Fillipponi said.

When the subject of Watson’s religion was brought up, Fillipponi then pointed out the absurdity of the situation.

“So wait a minute? Because you believe in Jesus Christ you care about your wife more than other people? What are you talking about?”

“I think he might have a shorter fuse and not taking in humor that Peter Burns was giving out,” Mueller said.

“It was an innocuous joke!,” Fillipponi stated. “It wasn’t a joke! Why is it in bad taste?”

Mueller then added the idea of Watson’s wife texting Burns insinuates there’s an inappropriate relationship.

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Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Booger McFarland’s Zach Wilson Analysis ‘An Embarrasment’

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Craig Carton

ESPN NFL analyst Booger McFarland raised eyebrows on Monday Night Countdown this week by saying New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has never been held accountable for his actions because he was a “young man who grew up with a lot of money”. WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton called out McFarland’s comments Tuesday as outlandish.

“It was an embarrasment,” Carton said. “Someone should ask Booger McFarland if his kids — who grew up with amazing wealth — have accountability in their lives or if having a little bit of money in your pocket immediately discounts the possibility to have accountability. He’s an idiot and we learned that last night.”

“It’s funny that Steve Young was on the other side of it,” Evan Roberts noted. “Because a long time ago, Steve Young criticized Chris Simms because he’s the son of a famous quarterback.”

“You don’t have to invent reasons for why Zach Wilson isn’t playing well,” added Carton. “Just watch his tape. He’s not playing well. Maybe he’s just not good!”

Carton later said NFL reporters “will try to make a name for themselves by putting out a story” about quarterbacks who take responsibility for their teams failures, while Wilson wouldn’t accept the blame.

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Sports Radio News

Greg Hill: Ben Watson, Peter Burns Drama Was A Bit

“Be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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Peter Burns and Ben Watson shared an awkward exchange during the halftime show of an SEC Network football game over the weekend, and many are still debating whether Watson walking off the set was serious or not. Count part of the cast of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI as doubters.

“That was a a bit,” Courtney Cox said. “That was absolutely a bit.”

“Yeah, unlike the Chris Rock/Will Smith thing, I assume that was a bit,” Hill said. “I can’t believe that Ben Watson is really angry about that.”

“I dunno, man. There’s been a lot of speculation that it isn’t,” Jermaine Wiggins added. “There are people who are very sensitive about you clowning on them or joking with them. Especially with joking about their wife. Some people can’t handle jokes like that.”

After a back-and-forth with Cox about the legitimacy of the joke, Wiggins concluded by saying for some folks family is off limits.

“I’ve learned something in my 47 years on this Earth: be careful when you’re talking about somebody’s wife and their kids. ‘Cause not everybody jokes the same way.”

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