Sports TV News
Joe Simpson Moving To Braves Radio Booth in 2019
The Atlanta Braves are making some major changes to their TV broadcast booth in 2019. Journeyman outfielder, Jeff Francoeur, who played for eight different teams in 12 Major League seasons (including two stints in Atlanta totaling four years), will move into the lead analyst role on Fox Sports South. Tom Glavine’s TV work will also increase for the team this year.
Former lead TV analyst Joe Simpson isn’t out entirely. He will spend the majority of his 28th season on the broadcast team working on radio. Braves CEO Derek Schiller told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Simpson will be part of one of two teams that will handle Braves play-by-play on the radio.
We’ll start the season with a preference of pairing Jim Powell with Joe Simpson and pairing Don Sutton with Ben Ingram, but there is going to be rotation.
Simpson will also work 20 to 30 games on TV next season. He says the number shocked him when it was first presented to him even though he did plan to reduce his TV schedule in 2019. “I was suggesting maybe cutting back to like 120 TV games, hoping to fill in the rest with some radio. But they’ve cut me back to 20 or 30 TV games with the rest being radio, so that came as a surprise.”
Simpson made headlines this summer when he ranted about the Dodgers disrespecting the sport and its fans by taking batting practice in shorts and t-shirts. Fans criticized Simpson, his TV partner Chip Carey, and Major League Baseball over the comments. Schiller and Fox Sports South General Manager each said that incident, and another where Simpson questioned the age of Nationals outfielder Juan Soto was not a factor in their decision.
“Absolutely not,” Genthner said when asked if the controversies contributed to the change. “To emphasize that point, we didn’t reprimand Joe, didn’t do anything to admonish him in any way (for the comments). … He’s a professional broadcaster, and he voiced his personal opinion about something, but not to the extent in any way, shape or form that it impacted his career in our point of view.”
Said Schiller: ”I think that’s just coincidence. … If we had any concerns about what he said, we wouldn’t be as comfortable as we are putting him on radio. Remember, he still is going to be a broadcaster for the Braves. If we had any reservations, any hesitations, about what Joe Simpson says into the microphone, he wouldn’t be doing the job we’ve asked him to do.”
Asked if he felt the incidents affected the decision, Simpson said: “I would sincerely hope not. … If that was not part of their decision-making process, then I am glad about that.
Sports TV News
Mike Breen: My Dream Was to Be a DJ at WPLJ
“I enjoyed being on the air and talking. So my initial thought was, ‘I’m going to be a disc jockey.’”
These days, WPLJ in New York City is a Christian station owned by the Educational Media Foundation. When Mike Breen was a kid in Yonkers though, it was one of the most influential rock stations in America and the man who is now known as the voice of the NBA wanted to be on the air there.
On the latest edition of Dan Le Batard’s South Beach Sessions podcast, Breen revealed that he always loved sports. His first introduction to broadcasting though came from a neighbor named Tony Minecola. He was a few years older than Breen and studying to be a radio broadcaster in college.
“He built a radio station in his basement and played disc jockey,” Breen told Le Batard. “’He had commercials, records, you know, everything. Like it was a real radio station, only it only went from one room to the next. That was what he was into, and that’s what he was going to college for. And we used to hang out in the basement all the time. And one day he says, ‘Hey, why don’t you come in? You want to you want to be the DJ for a little bit?’ And I’m like, okay, let me try it.’ And I fell in love with it.”
Mike Breen didn’t just fall in love with the idea of radio. He saw it as a viable career and knew exactly where he wanted it to take him.
“I enjoyed being on the air and talking. So my initial thought was, ‘I’m going to be a disc jockey.’ WPLJ was like the big rock station in New York back at that time, and I thought, ‘I’m going to be a DJ on WPLJ.’ That was my first goal.
Through the 70s and early 80s, WPLJ was an album rock station. Some of its most iconic on air personalities included Carol Miller, Pat St. John, Fr. Bill Ayers, and Mark Goodman, who was eventually one of MTV’s original VJs.
Breen said he loved the rock music of the time, especially Jethro Tull and Bruce Springsteen, but he realized that a broadcasting career could keep him close to sports too.
Obviously, he chose well. That is not to say that he couldn’t have been a great DJ if given the chance, but he went on to be the voice of the New York Knicks and has called more NBA Finals games than anyone else in history.
WPLJ was out of the rock business by 1983 when it became a pop station.
Sports TV News
New Episodes of Beyond Limits Coming to CBS Sports
The series, which first premiered in September 2021, is produced by the CBS Sports Race and Culture Unit, with senior producer Sarah M. Kazadi.
CBS Sports is set to premiere new episodes of its franchise Beyond Limits, which celebrates athletes who go beyond the implicit boundaries of sports and society. Three half-hour episodes will be hosted by CBS Sports reporter AJ Ross, and will also air on CBS’ linear channel and stream live on Paramount+.
The first episode of the season is titled “Who I Am,” and it will feature Byron Perkins, who is the first openly gay football player at a historically black college or university (HBCU). Perkins is a redshirt senior at Hampton University. The show will also discuss the relationship he has with his mother and how she has impacted him both as a person and an athlete.
Two more episodes will premiere throughout the season – one on making sports adaptable and accessible; and the other featuring athletes who have moved into executive roles. The latter show includes interviews with NBA Executive Vice President and Head of Basketball Operations, Joe Dumars; New Orleans Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development, Swin Cash; and NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent.
The series, which first premiered in September 2021, is produced by the CBS Sports Race and Culture Unit, with senior producer Sarah M. Kazadi. Its first episode premieres on Sunday, June 11 at 1:30 p.m. EST/10:30 a.m. PST, and should provide fans with unique storytelling and spotlight into the journeys of various key figures in sports and media alike.
Sports TV News
ESPN Colleagues Pay Tribute to Neil Everett
“It was universal praise from the people that knew and worked with Everett.”
Neil Everett has become one of the faces of SportsCenter. After 23 years at ESPN, he announced that he is leaving the network.
Colleagues at the World Wide Leader took to Twitter to share their thoughts. It was universal praise from the people that knew and worked with Everett. Chief among them was his SportsCenter partner of fourteen years, Stan Verrett.
If Root Sports Northwest requires references, there are plenty ESPN colleagues past and present that were immediately ready to vouch for Neil Everett.
Everett was not laid off. He turned down a new contract that would have forced him to take a pay cut.
The Walt Disney Company is in the middle of layoffs effecting every division. CEO Bob Iger has tasked his leaders with reducing costs by $5.5 billion and cutting 7000 jobs.