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Steve Somers Signs Off At WFAN For Final Time

“WFAN began 34 years ago, and Somers has been there every step of the way, a consistent lighthouse guiding nighttime listeners in the city that never sleeps.”

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Courtesy: WFAN

Steve Somers signed off of WFAN late nights for the final time on Friday night, and he said one final goodbye on Monday from 1-2 p.m. ET.

WFAN began 34 years ago, and Somers has been there every step of the way, a consistent lighthouse guiding nighttime listeners in the city that never sleeps. ESPN Monday Night Football play-by-play voice Steve Levy paid tribute to his old friend. 

“I just wanted to thank you for how you treated me when I was so young and knew nothing,” Levy said as he called into Somers’ final hour. “You taught a lot of people about the industry. How to respect your audience, how you treated them, and the last thank you, Steve. You were a piece of the success in the first-ever all-sports radio station in the country.”

Levy got his start in the industry doing score updates on WFAN. He parlayed that into success at ESPN and the eventual MNF gig.

“I travel around a lot now,” Levy continued. “You see these all-sports radio stations, and they go to network programming at night, and it’s awful. You need the local flavor. You were one of us.”

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo couldn’t wait to give Somers his praise. Russo chatted with Somers during his final scheduled show this past Friday.

“Yours is a little different because I was gonna still work,” Russo said about his transition from WFAN. “I was just gonna do it in a different venue and look for a new challenge. You’re gonna go into a retirement scenario where you can do whatever you want. You can wake up at 2:00 in the afternoon…go see a movie, you can do anything you want. For the first time in your life, you’re not constrained to a time schedule.

“Your situation is more about making the adjustment to keeping busy and keeping your mind active when you don’t have a place to hang your hat every day. For anybody that’s worked as hard as you have for as long as you have, that’s probably an adjustment that’s going to take a little while.”

Before taking the airwaves for one final sendoff thanks to Marc Malusis and Maggie Gray stepping aside to let the Schmoozer connect with fans and special guests from 1pm-2pm ET, Somers was honored by the radio station. In a video posted to social media, Gregg Giannotti and Craig Carton thanked the longtime WFAN host for being a class act, great teammate, and leaving an unforgettable mark on the radio station and industry. The station announced the break room inside the building would be renamed in Somers’ honor.

For his final hour, Somers welcomed longtime friend and nationally recognized comedian Jerry Seinfeld to the show, as well as WFAN’s longtime afternoon show staple Mike Francesa. Additional appearances were made by former New York Yankee Bernie Williams, and WFAN past and present members such as Mark Chernoff, Eddie Scozzare, Rich Ackerman, and Paul Arzooman who Somers credited for some of the exceptional production which had been done for his show. John Minko also returned to reunite with his longtime friend and colleague.

Seinfeld told Somers during their on-air discussion he was one of the greatest sports voices in New York. He then thanked Steve on behalf of all NY sports fans who enjoyed his rhythms, humor, and humanity. Seinfeld concluded by telling Somers ‘Nobody put the work into openings like you did.”

During his chat with Francesa, the former afternoon king told Somers he was ‘as big a part of it as anyone who has ever stepped through the doors.’ Francesa praised the impact Somers made on the station to which Somers added afterwards ‘I’m surprised Mike didn’t refer to me as a compiler for lasting 34 years.’

Upon signing off, Somers mentioned that the attention has been overwhelming, and some could make the argument that it’s been over the top, but it’s been absolutely appreciated. He thanked the audience for making the last 34 years, the happiest of his life.

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UConn Basketball’s Mike Crispino Less Critical of Referees As Official Himself

“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this. Because I realize how hard it is.”

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@mikecrispinonyk on Twitter

While basketball broadcasters may not have as contentious a relationship with referees as coaches, players, and fans, part of calling the action can involve criticizing a call. And with broadcasters typically positioned at courtside, there is certainly more opportunity for exchanges with officials than in football or hockey, for example.

But as David Borges writes in a feature for CT Insider, UConn men’s basketball play-by-play announcer Mike Crispino might go a bit easier on referees than his colleagues. And that’s because Crispino works as a referee himself when he’s not at the mic, officiating high school basketball and baseball games in Connecticut

Crispino has been a referee for 12 years and says it completely changed how he viewed officiating while calling play-by-play for the New York Knicks and UConn Huskies. Prior to donning the stripes, he would often question calls during a broadcast.

“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this,” Crispino told Borges. “Because I realize how hard it is. It’s not easy. You’re on-call all the time. You’ve got to have two hours of being sharp. You can’t get lazy, you can’t get distracted, you can’t listen to too many people barking about stuff. You have to be on it. Otherwise, you’re not doing the service that you’re getting paid to do.”

Despite having the perspective of a working referee, Crispino — who’s been broadcasting UConn men’s basketball for the past four years — still gets caught up in the moment and questions certain calls, sometimes with the officials standing right in front of him.

Unlike broadcasting, where young announcers are always trying to break into the industry, Crispino is concerned about the future of officiating. He says fewer people work as referees because of stories about angry parents and coaches.

Of course, Crispino has also experienced such exchanges from the other side with high school coaches disputing his calls as a referee. But he’s only issued one ejection during his officiating career, along with just a few technical fouls. Seeing referees work at the college and NBA levels as a broadcaster has helped him understand how to deal with such situations. That perspective has clearly been beneficial in both jobs.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee Irritated At Fans’ ‘Throw Rogan’ Nickname For Aaron Rodgers

“His haters got very loud.”

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The Pat McAfee Show

Many NFL fans, both casual and diehard, were ready with jeers and nicknames for Aaron Rodgers following the Green Bay Packers’ 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday’s NFL divisional playoff game.

As Pat McAfee pointed out on his show Monday, fans were eager to throw insults at Rodgers, waiting for the opportunity like a batter waiting for the ideal pitch to hit.

“People were sitting on ‘Throw Rogan,'” said McAfee, who naturally supported the person who appears on The Pat McAfee Show every week and made those conversations must-see viewing.

That particular nickname is a play on Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host whose advice Rodgers followed for batting COVID-19. As Rogan recommended, Rodgers took the drug Ivermectin, which is typically used to treat roundworms and other parasites.

McAfee cited last week’s ESPN.com feature on Rodgers by Kevin Van Valkenburg in which the reporter detailed the turn perception has taken toward the Packers QB this season and Rodgers’ strident belief in himself as a free thinker and intellectual.

Co-host A.J. Hawk agreed, adding another popular nickname posted to social media Saturday. “QAaron Rodgers” mocks the quarterback’s stated belief in conspiracy theories regarding the vaccine.

On the field, the Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC and considered in prime position to advance to the Super Bowl. Rodgers will likely win the NFL Most Valuable Player award (despite some voters feeling otherwise) for the second consecutive season after passing for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns (to just seven interceptions), while completing 68.9 percent of his throws and leading Green Bay to a 13-4 regular-season record.

But off the field, Rodgers gained national notoriety and became a controversial figure for his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Rodgers refused to get vaccinated, which put him at odds with many throughout the country. But what became the subject of national outrage and discussion was the quarterback giving the impression that he’d been vaccinated by saying he was “immunized” against the virus.

That turned many people against Rodgers for the past three months and those fans took delight from him losing in the playoffs. (The quarterback also lost some fans for trying to force a trade during the offseason and it’s possible Rodgers played his final game in Green Bay on Saturday.) And they flooded social media with nicknames.

“His haters got very loud,” said McAfee. “But I will say, I don’t think he has a lot of haters in general managers around the NFL on whether or not they can get him in the building.”

The trade rumors will begin gaining heat soon. Will fans tossing out derisive nicknames right now — especially those supporting the Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Saints, and Steelers — eventually embrace him as their quarterback? You know the answer to that.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI (Update)

“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”

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Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.

Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.

In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.

In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.

On Monday, Jeff Rickard took to Twitter to update fans and followers on his situation. He did not have anything negative to say about WEEI, Audacy, or anyone involved with him coming to Boston. He even noted that this move is likely what is best for him and his family.

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