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Under The Radar – August 31, 2018

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This edition of UTR is going to take you a while to read. There’s a TON to pass along. If you haven’t read this piece before, and want to know how to be included in it, it’s easy. Send your station or individual news via email to JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me. Now buckle up! You’ve got a lot to digest.

For those who have been asking about the return of the BSM Podcast, Season 3 will resume next Wednesday September 5th. There’ll be a few changes to the way the podcast is presented and delivered. We think you’ll enjoy it so be sure to check back.

Also, tickets for the BSM Summit in Los Angeles are now on sale. Seating for the event is limited. The annual conference is exclusive to sports media industry executives, programmers, market managers/sales managers, agents, and select talent. Plans have already been announced for an award to be introduced in honor of Emmis CEO and WFAN founder Jeff Smulyan. A second award announcement will be made next Thursday and involves a well known sports radio personality. For information on tickets, hotel, and sponsorships click here. To inquire on speaking at the event email JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

WEEI in Boston continues to make a difference for The Jimmy Fund. The radio station along with NESN and the Boston Red Sox took part in the 17th annual Jimmy Fund Telethon, and helped to raise more than $4.4 million dollars this year. Since the telethon’s inception, a total of $53 million dollars has been raised to help fight cancer. Congrats to all involved on a tremendous effort.

After months of media coverage, Mike Francesa‘s app is now available. The WFAN host recently did a media tour to promote it and confirmed plans to add more original content. Part of those plans include hosting his popular Sunday Football show which he hosted for 30 years on The Fan. Francesa’s app will also include a College Football show from WFAN host John Jastremski (JJ After Dark), wrestling content from Mike’s producer Brian Monzo, and Fantasy Football work from associate producer Chris McMonigle. More programming is expected to be added in the future.

While we’re on the subject of apps, the power of Barstool Sports can’t be understated. Earlier this week, the company launched the One Bite App which features a collection of Dave Portnoy‘s pizza reviews, and gives users the option to film and upload their own reviews. Barstool and its personalities got behind the project, collectively promoting the app to their fans, and on Wednesday, it had become the 3rd most popular app in the food and drink category. That put it ahead of brands such as Starbucks, and Chick Fil-A, and only behind McDonalds and Uber Eats. No matter how you slice it, that’s pretty impressive.

In addition to recently resigning with ESPN to continue his podcast and appear on television shows as a guest, Ryen Russillo has also added a podcast with The Ringer. Russillo’s new digital audio show is titled Dual Threat and it debuted on August 29th. Russillo also said on Twitter that he’s been hired to write a pilot for a television show.

FOX Sports Radio host Clay Travis has a book coming out in September. The title “Republicans Buy Sneakers Too” will include nine hours of audio narration from Travis. On an unrelated note, if you enjoy conversation on sports, media, and business, take a listen to Clay’s podcast with Rich Greenfield. It’s very interesting and informative. You can hear it by clicking here.

A heck of a start so far for the crew at VSiN. The company announced plans to introduce Action Updates earlier this year, and as we enter the start of the football season, 38 stations have already signed on to carry them with others expected to finalize deals soon. According to sources, News/Talk and music stations are beginning to enter the mix. That serves as a reminder to sports radio brands that it’s wiser to move early rather than late, especially given the expected increase in content, public interest, and revenue. You can learn more about VSiN’s updates by clicking here.

Philadelphia folks had been wondering about the status of popular WIP radio host Marc Farzetta, but that situation has been resolved. Farzetta left WIP on June 15th before getting married. His departure was due to gaining a full-time role on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Farzetta is now hosting Philly Sports Talk with Amy Fadool, and will be part of the network’s Eagles gameday coverage this season.

Beau Bishop is increasing his workload this fall. The 97.1 The Fan host who teams with James Laurinatis weekdays from 10a-12p ET is adding another show, except this one is on the airwaves of ESPN Cleveland. Bishop will co-host Browns Daily with Nathan Segura weekdays from 1p-3p ET. Bishop said via Twitter “there will be a lot of miles on my chopper but it should be fine.”

Football season means the addition of a number of weekly contributors on WDAE in Tampa. The radio station is adding nearly 15 guests to its fall coverage. Some of the notable names include former Bucs GM Mark Dominik, former Bucs players Michael Clayton and Anthony Becht, NFL Network insider Ian Rappaport, and Action Network Head of Content Chad Millman.

Given his connection to the city of Chicago, and the partnership in place between VSiN and 670 The Score, it only made sense for Sam Panayotovich to be added as a weekly contributor on the Chicago sports radio station. Panayotovich will appear on The Score every Friday during the football season with Mully and Haugh.

Another addition to The Score is The Fantasy Freak Show hosted by Yahoo Sports’ Brad Evans and Andy Behrens. The Score actually gave the show its start over a decade ago. Evans announced via social media he was thrilled to resurrect the program and return to his roots. The Score has added it to its Sunday schedule airing from 8a-9a CT.

Marc James and Greg Dickerson have been given a Saturday program on WEEI in Boston. Both men were regularly involved as rotating third hosts with Dale Arnold and Rich Keefe before the show was moved to middays. They’re also both active on Boston sports television.

Congratulations is in order for Jim Costa who has been elevated from APD to PD at 96.1 ESPN in Grand Rapids. Costa also hosts the station’s popular local afternoon show “Big Drew and Jim” with Drew McCarthy. The program also airs in Detroit on iHeart’s 1130 WDFN.

105.7 The Fan in Baltimore has named Brent Harris as its Ravens Insider. Aside from covering the team, Harris will also host the station’s Ravens post-game show.

FOX Sports Radio is adding an affiliation at the expense of ESPN Radio. Starting Saturday September 1st, 1230 and 1320 in Lehigh Valley, PA will re-brand as FOX Sports 1230/1320. The radio station which has been a longtime ESPN Radio affiliate said the moves are being made to offer a better lineup of personalities to the local airwaves. Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd‘s shows are expected to be part of the lineup. The station has no changes planned for its local afternoon show which features Tom Fallon and Matt Markus.

SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio recently gave ESPN Syracuse afternoon host Brent Axe an opportunity to do some fill-in work on national radio. Axe was summoned for duty on Sunday August 19th. No word yet on when Axe will host next for the satellite company but expect him to get another shot.

Speaking of fill-ins, Jason Goff resurfaced recently in Atlanta, hosting two shows for 92.9 The Game. Goff previously worked for the station, and has remained active in recent months on SiriusXM, WFNZ in Charlotte, and a few Chicago sports media outlets.

Another talented guy who’s picked up some expanded opportunities is 1620 The Zone‘s Nick Bahe. FOX Sports Radio recently gave the Omaha sports talk show host a chance to fill in on the national stage. Bahe worked with sports talk veteran Andy Furman. In addition to hosting on The Zone, Bahe does college basketball analyst work for FOX Sports television.

Pete Thompson is no longer a full time member of The Sports Bash on 97.3 ESPN. In a social media post from on-air host and PD Mike Gill, Thompson was given credit for helping take the show to another level. Gill concluded his post by adding “that chair will always be open for you PT!”

A new wrestling podcast is now available courtesy of 102.5 The Game assistant program director Chase McCabe. “Through The Ropes” debuted with a special guest appearance from WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett. You can hear it by clicking here.

A new two year deal is what sources say CBS Sports HQ has signed Nick Kostos to. The CBS anchor is expected to continue in his current role as part of the new agreement. For a good read on what his day consists of click here to read the SBJ’s story.

Matt Perrault has announced he’s left The Action Network as a contributor to provide columns, videos and podcasts for 2 sports gambling sites.  One of those outlets is PlayPicks.com where Perrault contributed his first piece previewing the opening weekend in College Football.

And a couple of congratulatory notes go out to Kelly Bydlon who’s joined VSiN as a producer after 9 years with ESPN West PalmMatt Murphy for being named the new voice of Alvernia football on WIOV Sports Radio 1240AM, Jake Marsh on adding play by play duties on Vermont Men’s basketball, Tommy Call who’s adding a weekly sports talk show on 1440 KVON in Napa, and Rudy Reyes who’ll be covering the Wyoming Cowboys for KGWN.

After 34 years of sports coverage on Bay Area television, Gary Radnich signed off at KRON 4. Radnich’s farewell commentary provided moments of candor, emotion, and humor. To watch it click here. Congrats to Gary on an incredible run.

ESPN continues to introduce programming for multiple platforms. The company has announced a new show exclusively for Twitter. The College Football Show airs Saturday night’s at 7pm with Jason Fitz and Treavor Scales serving as hosts. Fitz says he’s pumped up, and promises the show will do things that have never been done before on digital programs.

An opportunity to head home was too good for Ben Murphy to pass up. After spending the past year in Charleston, SC working for WCBD, Murphy has accepted a sports anchor/reporter position at the local ABC/NBC affiliate in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL.

A ton to pass along from the print world starting with another hiring spree by The Athletic. The site’s NFL coverage immediately received a boost with the additions of well respected NFL reporter and television personality Jay Glazer, and former NFL GM and football analyst Michael Lombardi. Other moves made include adding Arif Hasan to cover the Minnesota Vikings. Travis Haney taking on the Tennessee Titans beat. Larry Holder has been hired in New Orleans to serve as a columnist and cover the New Orleans Saints and LSU. Green Bay is where you’ll find Josh Tolentino who’s now covering the Packers alongside Michael Cohen. In Indianapolis, Scott Agness and Stephen Holder will cover the Colts and Pacers. Less than 2 hours away, Jay Morrison is covering the Bengals in Cincinnati. Greg Auman exits the Tampa Bay Times after 19 years to cover the Buccaneers for the company. Joe Person has taken a similar approach in Charlotte, leaving the Charlote Observer after 8 years to cover the Carolina Panthers. Chris Perkins joins the brand in Miami reporting on the Dolphins. And Dane Brugler, Ted Nguyen, and Lindsay Jones have been named contributors to the platform’s NFL outfit.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is giving Chris Hine an opportunity to cover the Minnesota Timberwolves. Hine takes over for Jerry Zgoda.

After spending 13 years with Arizona Central Sports/Arizona RepublicDoug Haller is moving on. Haller says details about his next adventure will be announced soon, and he won’t be going far.

The Global News in Montreal received some good news just in time for hockey season. Brian Wilde has agreed to return as a hockey commentator. Wilde has spent two decades covering the Montreal Canadiens, and will bring his popular blog, Call of the Wilde, to the Global News’ website.

Yahoo Sports has added Kimberley Martin as a Senior NFL Reporter. Martin previously worked for the Washington Post, Newsday, and Buffalo News.

And Christopher Heady is taking over the Nebraska men’s basketball beat. He adds those responsibilities in addition to covering Nebraska football for the Omaha World-Herald.

 

Sports Radio News

49ers-Cowboys Wild Card Game Draws Over 41 Million Viewers For CBS, Nickelodeon

The main CBS broadcast and alternate telecast on Nickelodeon combined to average 41.496 million viewers.

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Sunday’s NFL Wild Card playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys was bound to attract a large audience.

The game featured a classic matchup between two of the league’s most accomplished teams. The Cowboys are always a big television draw. Add the 4:30 p.m. ET kickoff that appears to be most fans’ ideal viewing time and everything was in place for big ratings.

Sure enough, CBS was rewarded with huge numbers for Sunday’s telecast. According to the network, the 49ers-Cowboys game earned the highest viewership for an NFL Wild Card playoff game since 2015. (Dallas played the Detroit Lions in that context, televised on Fox.)

The main CBS broadcast and alternate telecast on Nickelodeon combined to average 41.496 million viewers. What became a close, thrilling game resulting in a 23-17 49ers victory attracted 50.229 million viewers at its conclusion.

That viewership is a 35 percent increase from the audience for the networks’ Wild Card game (a less appealing matchup between the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints). And for CBS, it was the network’s most-watched Wild Card playoff game in 10 years. (Pittsburgh-Denver averaged 42.371 viewers in 2012.)

The 49ers-Cowboys broadcast also drew big numbers for ViacomCBS’s Paramount+ streaming service, notching the largest audience for a non-Super Bowl game.

NBC also drew an impressive for its Sunday night Wild Card playoff broadcast. The Steelers-Chiefs primetime matchup averaged 30.5 million viewers across the regular NBC telecast, in addition to the Telemundo, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms. NBC’s audience of 28.9 million viewers was the highest primetime TV audience since last year’s Super Bowl LV.

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Adam Schefter Still Yet To Finish ESPN Orientation

“All of a sudden, I get a text saying we need you on SportsCenter, Plaxico Burress just got arrested.”

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ESPN Images

When Adam Schefter joined ESPN in August 2009, he was supposed to go into Bristol one day for his orientation. But then, NFL news happened which caused his orientation to be delayed and, well, it has never happened since.

Schefter talked about that experience on his podcast, The Adam Schefter Podcast, when he was interviewing the newest member of the ESPN team, college football senior writer Pete Thamel. Thamel was starting his orientation this week. However, since college football is in the early stages of its offseason, it is less likely that his orientation will be halted by major breaking news.

Here is what Schefter had to say about why he had to miss orientation:

“When I was doing orientation, the plan was to drive to Bristol and then Tuesday, August 20, at 9 AM, I was going to go through orientation. Monday morning, as I was driving up to Bristol from New York, Brett Favre took off from Mississippi to land in Minnesota to sign with the Vikings and I’m doing live hits.”

“The next day, when I was supposed to do my orientation at 9 AM, I showed up at the front door about 8:50 right above the café and all of a sudden, I get a text saying we need you on SportsCenter, Plaxico Burress just got arrested (pled guilty to weapons charge) … I said to the orientators, excuse me, I have to go do SportsCenter. 12.5, 13 years later, I still have not had my orientation at ESPN.”

As for Thamel, he is looking forward to a new challenge at ESPN after writing for established places such as The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Yahoo! Thamel is looking forward to being able to do more television and video with his reporting and has received help from other notable ESPN insiders:

I just think having a new forum to tell stories in a different vehicle and a different way and maybe do some video storytelling, maybe utilizing information in different ways other than Twitter. Mastering a new skill, quite frankly. I’ve been on television, video, but I think that becoming a part of what I do is going to be a really fun challenge.”

“I know enough of that space to know that it is not hard to be okay, but it is hard to be great. It’s going to take a lot of reps and a lot of coaching. Many people at ESPN volunteered to be my coaches on that stuff. Jeff Passan has been great giving advice. Woj has obviously been awesome in that space. There will be a learning curve and the difference here is there is no delete button for your mistake.”

So, what is Thamel looking to accomplish while at ESPN? He wants to help people enjoy college sports differently:

“I expect to help the viewers and the readers enjoy college sports in a different way through information and storytelling. I expect and hope to really utilize all the different arms of ESPN to help enhance people’s enjoyment of college football. I hope to channel the energy of my passion and use the power of ESPN’s reach to tell great stories, to give great information, and help make the games a little better, the characters a little bit more alive.”

This episode provides a good mix of the listener learning more about ESPN’s new college football senior writer and Schefter telling stories about his early days at ESPN, sharing a funny experience like missing his orientation. 

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Power Trip Wants To Know Why Marney Gellnar Kept NSMA Award Secret

“Gellner disclosed that she had known about the honor weeks prior to it being announced via a phone call she received.”

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The National Sports Media Association announced its yearly award winners at both the state and national levels Tuesday afternoon. KFAN’s The Power Trip spoke to one of their colleagues who serves as a field/sideline reporter for the MLB’s Minnesota Twins and NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves on Bally Sports North, and as the play-by-play voice for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. Marney Gellner has been working professionally in sports media since 1996, and was just named Minnesota Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. In her normal Wednesday morning shift on KFAN, her colleagues congratulated her on the honor and turned it into on-air banter centered around technicalities and betting.

“We’re very happy for you, but we’re a little confused,” said on-air host Cory Cove, who has been with KFAN since 2002. “We’re all Minnesota broadcasters, so… we’re proud of you, but by default since you won ‘Minnesota Sports Broadcaster of the Year,’ then technically the five of us are losers because we should have been at least nominated or considered but we [got] our asses kicked by you.”

“I was thinking it, but I didn’t want to say it,” Gellner responded.

Gellner disclosed that she had known about the honor weeks prior to it being announced via a phone call she received. With the increasing prevalence of sports betting within the sports media landscape, the hosts of The Power Trip were disappointed in the fact that they were not afforded this insider information.

“You’ve been sitting on it for two weeks,” said Paul “Meatsauce” Lambert, co-host of The Power Trip. “Why didn’t you tell us so we could bet on it?”

Betting with inside information about the most likely outcome provoked Cove’s reminiscence of a previous bet he made with longtime KFAN host Mark Rosen about Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl LII Halftime Show performance in Minnesota.

While Rosen has never admitted it, Cove claims that he had inside information about the plans for the halftime show, most notably that Prince was going to be referenced by Timberlake. When the opportunity presented itself to make a bet on the late Minneapolis native being mentioned, he swiftly put down $100 on it.

“He knew Prince was going to be referenced at the Justin Timberlake halftime show here,” explained Cove. “He 1000% deserved to take my money because if you can’t stop the sucker within the first thirty minutes at the table, then you are the sucker. I walked right into the trap.”

While Gellner did not bet on herself winning the Minnesota Sports Broadcaster of the Year Award, she claimed to have received a million dollars in prize money on the air, something that caused Paul “Meatsauce” Lambert to worry about the “size of her head.”

“I would be,” replied Gellner. “Starting to look like ‘Sauce over here.”

The studio erupted with laughter after that punchline, with its meaning being interpreted more literally than figuratively. Nonetheless, Gellner’s Minnesota Sportscaster of the Year win marks the first of her career, putting her on a list with another prominent broadcaster and colleague.

“You know who has won the Minnesota Sports Broadcaster of the Year before? [Rosen.] 15 times, I think. He’s got $15 million because of it,” remarked Gellner.

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